By Kelly Yu
For a school that prides itself on being “Red Hot,” Stony Brook could not have picked a hotter day for Earthstock 2008. Booths lined the walkways from the SAC to the fountain in front of the Administration Building. The most eclectic of them all was a lonely stand in front of the descending fountain next to the stage. It was the Student Life Council booth, which drew a crowd at 2:30 pm where they hosted the Rubber Duck Race down “stony brook.”
At 2:30, Dr. Susan DiMonda, Associate Dean and Director of Student Life, lifted barrier between hundreds of red rubber ducks and freedom. People surrounded the fountain as hundreds of ducks waddled backwards, forwards, and even upside down to the finish line. There was a clear winner at the end when Dr. DiMonda fished out number 185, better known as Duck Duck. Duck Duck’s proud owner, Jessica Fareri, called this victory an “extension of [last night’s] Spirit Night win” for Roth Quad. As the winner, Duck Duck received a backpack filled with goodies such as a $30 gift certificate to the Seawolves Marketplace. Who knew rubber ducks liked coffee and linzer tarts too? It was a sad sight after the winner was crowned, as many of the rubber ducks didn’t even pass the finish line. The brook was lined with red rubber floating sadly without direction. But nobody cared. All they wanted was their rubber duck, as did this reporter, who named her duck Kingsley II as well as Stony Brook Press Associate Editor, Alex Nagler, who appropriately named his Nagles. Neither had a chance against Duck Duck.
Throughout the week prior to Earthstock, the Student Life Council was advertising adoption of these red rubber ducks. The ducks went for a dollar each adoption came with a slip signifying the owner and number of the duck. There was no limit to the number of ducks a person could adopt because all the money donated would fund student events such as the drive-in movie Transformers event and other campus recreations. By Friday, the Student Life Council had a little over 500 rubber ducks donated. By the beginning of the race, about 1000 ducks were sent swimming towards the Wang Center.
The first rubber duck race was supposed to premier at an event called “Salute to Stony Brook” on September 11, 2001. However, for obvious reasons, the event was cancelled and the first race was rescheduled for next semester. For the first race, anyone could adopt a yellow rubber duck, free of charge. Last year was the first year the Student Life Council had a booth at Earthstock and decided to re-introduce the rubber duck races because of their popularity in 2002. For this year, the SLC decided to go with red ducks to represent the “Red Hot” campus. When asked what set the duck race apart from the other Earthstock events, Dr. DiMonda responded, “It’s fun and different. It’s unique.” It shows the quirky side of being a part of an environmentally-conscious school.
According to their website, the Student Life Council not only advocates for students, but tries to get students more involved by sponsoring activities, giving information about scholarships, participating in trips like Mets games, and other fun, rewarding events. “There’s lots to do on campus,” says sophomore Daniel Deland, “Sports, clubs, intramurals. There’s lots of stuff online, you just need to know where to look.” One of those places is through the SCL listserve. Dr. DiMonda tries to get the word out to students about all these events and awards through the listserve. Anyone can sign up for the information on the SLC website. With all this and other events available on campus, no student should ever say, ‘There is nothing to do at Stony Brook.’”