PASADENA ( — It’s one of Caltech’s oldest traditions: Ditch Day.

And KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen reports, it’s a colorful side of Caltech that most of us never get to see.

There’s Silly String, games, sling shots, scavenger hunts. Just about anything you can imagine that you would never expect to see a bunch of science majors doing.

Many of the activities leave students speechless. Traditionally, seniors come up with wild and creative challenges for freshmen.

Freshman Sheila Handler said, “First we were like tied to each other. We were handcuffed. We were told to walk around and find clues. And then what else did we do Christine?”

Student Christine Sun said, “We repelled out of a window. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that though.”

That’s right: Repelling. There was also a raft race – using beach balls.

Trying to get across a pool in a raft made of beach balls may seem kind of zany but when you’re at Caltech, you can be sure there is a lesson behind it.

Cynthia Jiang, a computer science major, said, “We have to pay attention to where the center of mass is going. So to make up for that we have to pay attention to where the distribution of weight is.”

Biology major Julia Su perhaps summed it up best, “Aside from being nerds and doing science, we can do fun things as well.”

That would include running an obstacle course on pogo balls – in which Tiffany Huang annihilated Eli Alster.

Huang, a junior mechanical engineering student, said, “He said I was going down right there but he was wrong.”

Eli could exact his revenge — next year —  when he becomes a senior and designs his challenge.

He’s already planning something. He told Nguyen, “Umm, it’s kind of a secret. Yeah. No.”


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