This year, we had our share of serious, hard-hitting news stories. In between, a lot of odd things happened. From web hacks and engineering pranks to accidental New Year celebrations, here are our top eight quirky stories of the 2013-2014 academic year.
1. Missing trophy
The UBC men’s soccer team sang their victory song, Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, 17 times this year en route to their second straight CIS national championship. The irony: they took the Sam Davidson Memorial trophy to the Pit for a celebration and, well, lost it. We’re glad they didn’t mind poking fun at themselves throughout the year, but we hope they can keep their eyes on the prize next season.
2. Engineers put VW Beetle on top of clock tower
— Will McDonald (@w_d_mcdonald) February 7, 2014
When UBC students woke up on Feb. 7 and stumbled their way onto campus, they spotted something different on the campus skyline. To celebrate E-Week, the UBC engineers went back to their pranking ways that previous evening and put the shell of a red VW Beetle atop the clock tower, where it sat for the majority of the morning before it was taken down.
Other engineering exploits include hanging a VW Beetle off the Golden Gate Bridge, and the majority of campus seems to enjoy the shenanigans. Kudos to those troublemakers in the red jackets for pulling off yet another trick that befuddled us all.
3. Web hacks
A few lolz were had at UBC’s expense this year — first when an Insane Clown Posse-inspired hacker changed the Food Services page, and later when ubcengineers.com temporarily displayed a photo of a giraffe and a donkey that appeared to be engaging in sexual relations. The lessons here? Don’t forget to lock the Internet door behind you, and buying a few domains is cheap insurance against some prankster with a PayPal account.
4. Joint peace-in-Ukraine demonstration/Chinese New Year celebration happens accidentally
In a bizarre mix-up, Vancity Buzz invited thousands of Vancouverites to a UBC student’s small demonstration for peace in Ukraine, advertising the event as “an authentic Chinese New Year Sky Lantern festival.” To be fair, the organizer was selling Chinese lanterns to UBC attendees. He made $1,500 off sales, $1,000 of which he said he was going to bring with him to Ukraine and physically hand to protesters in the square.
5. Rob Ford comes to campus
Toronto mayor Rob Ford had a banner year of headlines but he became even more notorious when he made his way to campus for the Arts Undergraduate Society election this year and secured a spot on AUS Council. Harsev Oshan, an AMS presidential hopeful who was behind the joke candidate’s campaign, took over after Ford was elected. One of the last joke candidates to put up such a good showing was Fire Hydrant, whom Ford has been know to run into from time to time.
6. Borgore lolz and superstar PR probz
Senior culture writer Aurora Tejeida interviewed brostep superstar Borgore before his appearance on the last stop of the Steve Aoki Aokify America tour at the Thunderbird stadium last November. Turns out Borgore is an example of what is often referred to as a “colossal douchenozzle” — he referred to our fine institution as “the University of Vancouver” and defined his love of Vancouver in terms of the “hot Asian chicks” he once met at a sushi bar.
Borgore wasn’t the only problem we’ve had with music PR this year. Kid Cudi completely ignored our attempts to profile him before his show last September — leading to a Human Centipede-themed edit comic which, in retrospect, may not have been the best response to the snub — while Adventure Club were the only band we weren’t able to cover ahead of this year’s Block Party. Meanwhile, Clooney, Gervais and Laurie all graced our campus for movie shoots, but we couldn’t capitalize on it. We can only dream of the day when we’ll command enough respect to interview every celebrity who ingratiates themselves with our campus.
7. Money Square
Another chapter in the ongoing saga of branding problems on campus unfolded when UBC approved naming an area after Money – the Money and Raymond M.C. Lee Square, that is. The married couple bought the name with a $5,250,000 donation to developing the square outside the bookstore and UBC’s alumni centre. Money talks.
8. The Syrup Trap
UBC lost many of its student papers leading up to 2010, and although several blogs crept up after the AMS put up a cash bounty on elections coverage, it was always a niche readership. 2013: enter the Syrup Trap. Named after a Mitch Hedberg joke about waffles, the satirical beaver-emblazoned blog has garnered attention over the last year, and even ran two joke candidates in the AMS elections.
They also managed to convince several students (and gullible Internet folks) that J.K. Rowling had bought the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and that Sauder School of Business dean Robert Helsley had fired the entire Sauder student body. Those sticky Syrup Trappers have already pulled a few fast ones in their short existence.