The GM Week kickoff graced the Armory with its presence Friday night, and included twister, miniature golf, a pie eating contest and laser tag, as well as GM Week 2004 T-shirt sales. Although there was fun to be had, the general atmosphere was not one of high energy and the event could certainly have used some better publicity, as well as a large dollop of pizzazz.
The laser tag was the main attraction. Although scheduled to start at 7 pm like the rest of the events, the flap on its large yellow domed tent in the middle of the Armory floor didn’t open until around 8:30. Inside were various metal frames draped with canvas doppled with fluorescent paints, so as to provide brightly colored obstacles (in the black lights inside the tent), so that participants could feel as if they had some kind of tactical prowess by moving around them with laser guns drawn.
The most entertaining event was the pie eating contest, sponsored by the Class of 2005, which drew a fair crowd even through the somewhat disappointing attendance. Each contestant was required to eat half of an apple pie with whipped cream in the shortest time possible. The Apollo party was in evidence here as GM and PU candidates Gavin Gyle and Hansel Baez respectively were seen chowing down on pie before going around to get signatures.
The twister mats off to one side usually had at least one group playing, and the miniature golf course—hey, everyone loves mini golf—drew a fair number of people into putting their way in a circular path around the laser tag tent while waiting for the laser tag to open up.
The T-shirt sales rounded out the selection of things to do, with GM Week 2004 shirts for $9 and reduced prices on 2003’s “Larger Than Life” GM Week T-shirts. Frankly, $9 is rather expensive for a T-shirt, although students were able to charge it to their student accounts.
While the GM Week kickoff was fairly well attended, what was instantly noticeable about the crowd was a lack of energy. No one seemed especially excited to be there. Perhaps it was the lack of music, rendering the kickoff one of the quieter events to come to RPI of late. Perhaps it was because what attractions there were took up only about one half of the floor space of the Armory, allowing the emptiness of the unused half to lay like a thick blanket over the occupied half.
Whatever the reason, it seems GM Week will have to step its efforts up a bit in order to attract the kind of interest that usually makes it such an interesting part of spring at RPI.