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Project MOYA Promotes Frosh Teamwork

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

As Residence and Orientation Week kicked off yesterday, freshmen took to Briggs Field for Project Move Off Your Assumptions. The program started four years ago to give freshmen a relaxed atmosphere in which to meet other freshmen and upperclassmen, said R/O Publicity and Personnel Manager John de Guzmn.

"MOYA is a great way to get the freshmen and upperclassmen involved together," said Harold Brown Jr., assistant professor of athletics and coach to MOYA groups. "It's a good way to kind of get them relaxed by getting them to let their hair down a little bit," he said.

Freshmen had mixed but mostly positive reactions to MOYA. "It's fun. It's a good way to get to know a few people," said Lucia Dreierova '99.

"It's a start at meeting people. We shouldn't expect too much from it," said Athicha Muthitacharoen '99.

Trust games, problem solving

The format of the activity was much the same as last year's, beginning with calisthenics. The groups then split up into clusters of 12 to help introduce members to one another. Students played a game to learn each other's names and also played an animal call game, in which each freshman was blindfolded and assigned an animal he or she had to imitate while crawling on the grass.

These were followed by trust exercises. Members of a group held out arms to catch a volunteer who would fall backwards into their arms.

A series of problem-solving activities followed. One situation called Electric Fence involved a simulation in which group members cooperated to cross over a rope without touching it. Another called Blind Polygon required blindfolded group members to pull a cord loop into various different shapes.

One puzzle asked members to remove a can of water from the center of a circle without entering the circle and without spilling the water, with only the aid of a rope.

The activities also included a debriefing session, during which group leaders asked freshmen how they felt about the exercises and answered some questions about R/O in general.

"We're having fun, but some of the games are too long," said Joy Su '99.

"The trust game is good, but that animal game made you feel like a fool," Muthitacharoen said.

Not just a time killer

"MOYA is not just a time killer," said Mark A. Herschberg G, a member of the MOYA subcommittee of the R/O committee. "It don't think it's the greatest activity in the world, but it breaks down barriers for students who are here and think I'm so scared, I don't know anyone.'," he said.

According to an informal poll by the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Office, reaction to MOYA was "overwhelmingly positive,"Herschberg said.

This year was "the best MOYAI've ever seen," said Herschberg, who has worked as a counselor for two other years. "The freshmen seemed exciting and into it, and it worked well right up to the finale."

Interruptions trouble MOYA

This afternoon's Project MOYA activities were punctuated by the unexpected appearance of an unidentified male streaker. The streaker quickly weaved a path around MOYA groups and made an exit from Briggs Field by jumping over a fence onto Vassar Street.

Project MOYA concluded with a pretend marathon race at the football stadium. Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Travis R. Merritt spoke to the Class of 1999, challenging the freshman class to a slow-motion marathon to the tune of "Chariots of Fire."

The finale was interrupted by eager upperclassmen who awaited freshmen for Thursday Night Dinners. Upperclassmen were supposed to wait for freshmen to reach them near Kresge Oval after the marathon, but many prematurely rushed into the stadium and Briggs Field. The finale continued after the upperclassmen were removed by R/O workers with the help of the Campus Police.