August 18, 2014
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Engineers kidnap, ransom and bribe their way to Geer Week win

Fabian Gonzalez
Gateway Writer
Jan 22, 2014

An all-enveloping, oppressive silence is broken only by the rhythmic beeping of an elevator door opening a few floors above. A rushed heartbeat is accompanied by that familiar sensation that somebody, somewhere, is watching. And then — a familiar tap on the shoulder is followed by the words no engineering club president wants to hear: “You have been kidnapped.”

Adrenaline rushes and presidential abductions are typical occurrences during Geer Week, the annual week-long competition between engineering students’ clubs taking place the second week after the holiday break. This year’s event ran from Jan. 12–18, with 11 teams participating.

The competition included events designed to test the participants’ design, planning, material acquisition, managerial and leadership skills — as well as their ingenuity, surveillance methods and hostage negotiation abilities. Competitors participated in challenges such as a tug of war, a toboggan race and even a round of an “Are You Smarter than a First Year” contest.

At the end of the week, points from the events were tallied and the the club with the highest amount was declared the champion.

Sarah Elder, a volunteer judge for Geer Week, explained that kidnapping club presidents is a common way to force other teams to give up points for ransom, adding that presidents could have been kidnapped nearly anywhere throughout the week.

“The only safe places are your club room, your classroom during a class and the competitions themselves,” she said. “They must then be ransomed by their team or they will lose valuable points, since they have to be at every competition,” she said.

Elder added that bribing was also commonplace throughout Geer Week — and was even completely within the rules of the competition. Teams who made mistakes or broke rules can bribe judges to view their performances more positively, she said, particularly in the Dance Troupes contest, which took place at The Ranch.

Last year, judges were bribed with a flight by a participant with a pilot’s license, Elder said. This year, judges received one year’s admission to the TELUS World of Science.

But the constant bribes and kidnappings haven’t gone without controversy. Alysha Hudson, president of the Materials Engineering Students Societies, said Geer Week has developed unfair competition between engineering departments.

She said her team spent about $100 on bribes at the Battle of the Bands competition, and it wasn’t enough.

“(Our) budget for the year is about $1,000, and we have spent a lot for a small club like ours. I was kidnapped three times this week for instance,” she said.

“I don’t like the kidnapping aspect because we can’t even go out and enjoy the events, because you are worried you’ll be kidnapped. I have taken the standpoint that since I don’t appreciate it, we shouldn’t do it (kidnapping).

“I can’t hang out with my friends in other departments because they’ll kidnap me; I feel Geer Week could improve if it developed cohesion among engineers as a whole group, instead of cohesion as departments.”

The top three winners of Geer Week included the Computer Engineering Club in third place, the Electrical Engineering club in second and the Engineering Physics Club in first.


Lets talk about what’s really important. Geer Week is a legendary event that current students and alumni will remember for years to come. The memories made during this week are relatable between all participants no matter what age. This year I met several alumni who recounted their favourite tales of Geer Week to me, their stories are amazing.

Kidnapping is the least significant portion of Geer Week. Kidnapping ransoms are funny or useful. For example, the Electrical club ransomed a new clock (which cost upwards of 20$ from the closing Tin Box on Whyte), and the Mechanical’s had the Electrical’s provide a volunteer for another event. Being kidnapped is advantageous for presidents as well; the kidnappers are required to provide food and entertainment, and can leave at any time.

The same goes for bribes. At most the bribes can save your score if you made a major mistake, and help with minor ones.

Posted by Sarah Elder on Jan 22, 2014

“... If it developed cohesion among engineers as a whole group, rather than cohesion as departments”??? This reporter needs to get his facts straight. I can’t tell you how many friends I made from other departments during geer week, and for many people geer week is the only chance to meet people from other disciplines.

PS with kidnappings, the kidnappers are responsible for entertaining their GUEST. If the kidnappee isn’t having a good time, they are free to leave. Additionally, the presidents are allowed to assign a proxy ahead of time if they do not wish to participate. No one forces anyone to do anything they don’t want to.

Nice to know our reporters stoop to the same level of misteprentation for the sake of controversy as the public media.

Posted by Ben on Jan 22, 2014

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