We can thank Conrad Grebel for this week’s small, but tasteful, prank:
Cheesy Kraft Dinner Prank
By Lynn Thomas
Grebel: a place filled with innovative ideas, hard work, and good old Kraft Dinner. These are classic components of university life, but also the makings of an epic prank. In November of 2009, Andrew Alkema wrote an e-mail to Pepsi, inquiring about the possibility of becoming a “university representative.” Essentially, Andrew asked Pepsi to send him free stuff, and in return he would utter a satisfied ‘ahhh’ every time he drank Pepsi in the presence of other impressionable university students. When he posted this letter on Facebook, an inspiration hit Ryan Hildebrandt. With the help of Laura Stobbe, a ‘Kraft University Representative program’ was concocted and Andrew was asked (from a legit @ kraft email of a friend on co-op) if he would like to be involved when it started a few months later. Needless to say, Andrew said “yes.”
In January 2010, Ryan purchased one of every type of Kraft dinner stocked at the grocery store and mailed them to Andrew, who shared it with friends and e-mailed detailed evaluation reports and comments to his “Kraft correspondent”. Several weeks later, a photo contest and video contest for “all” Kraft representatives was announced. Andrew’s enthusiasm for winning a lifetime supply of Kraft Dinner and $10,000 (the photo contest and video contest prizes respectively) increased and Laura convinced him to make an announcement at Commie supper asking for assistance. With this help, he submitted 10 pictures and a 60 second professionally edited video, both of which prominently featured Kraft Dinner, himself, and other members of the Grebel community.
At the talent show following the Winter 2010 banquet, in front of gathered residents, associates, staff, and other honoured guests, the prank was revealed in all its epic-ness as Andrew stood onstage, completely shocked as he realized there was no real contest.
However, they wouldn’t have the last laugh. Due to a strange turn of events, Kraft Canada found out about the prank and sent Andrew a plethora of Kraft paraphernalia including: 1 backpack, 7 t-shirts, 400 stickers, and 140 boxes of Kraft Dinner.
The mascot of the Mathematics Society is The Natural Log. It is a 2.5 foot long (roughly) section of wooden log, with the word ‘MATHSOC’ burnt into it.
The Natural Log was originally created in late November 1980. Earlier that month, as part of Engineering Week, the engineers had paraded their Ridgid Tool around campus. Presumably this caused some mathies to discuss the possibility of MathSoc getting its own “mathscot” that could be paraded around. Apparently Prabhakar Ragde heard them and jokingly suggested a “natural log”. The mathies took him seriously and procured the log from an unknown source.
On December 1st, 1980, The Natural Log was formally unveiled to the public for the first time. The Mathies chained the log to a table (the Log Table, just a standard table that was soon forgotten) and paraded their new mascot around campus.
The First Theft
As the math students paraded the log near Engineering 1 (now Douglas Wright Engineering), they were attacked by a large group of engineers. A small brawl ensued. Paint, snowballs, and fists were thrown. The chains holding the log to the table were cut using bolt cutters, and the log was stolen. One student went to the hospital for x-rays.
We are uncertain what happened to the log during this time. Presumably, the log was returned within a few weeks. At any rate, The Natural Log was back in the hands of MathSoc by the year 2005.
The 2005 Theft
In 2005, the engineers once again stole The Natural Log. This time, the log was defaced using permanent markers and spray paint. After some time, MathSoc negotiated for the return of the log.
It then sat in a corner of the MathSoc Office, neglected and graffitied, for several years.
In 2010, a mathematics student named John Stevenson noticed the log and realised that he had the skills required to clean and restore The Natural Log. Taking it home, he carefully removed the graffiti, and added a layer of shellac to the log. Returning it to MathSoc, the log was given a new home on display in the 3rd floor landing of the Mathematics and Computer building. MathNEWS had a field day and created a whole new mythos surrounding the log’s creation.
The 2010 Theft
In late November 2010, The Natural Log was stolen once again, this time by NEAC. As always, the details are sketchy, but NEAC claims that it gave the log “as a Christmas gift” to the environment society. There was a ransom demand made of $500 dollars (later reduced to $400) for the log, but when MathSoc arrived with a [voided] cheque, the captors failed to show up to the meeting.
The log’s location was then sold to the highest bidder by a person wearing the Environment Banana costume at the Colour Me Educated dumpster event on January 26, 2010. It appears that the Faculty of Arts was the highest bidder and came into possession of the log shortly after. However, after the Arts Student Union president change, all credible leads as to the log’s location and captors seemed to disappear.
On September 21, 2011, a Facebook account by the name of “TheMath Log” appeared, with owners of the account claiming to be the current captors of the log. After actively friend-ing everyone related to the Math Faculty in January, an ultimatum was given on February 2nd. If students didn’t vote in André Magalhães for VPEDucation in the upcoming Federation of Students Election, the log would be burned. Otherwise, The Natural Log was to be returned safely. This ultimatum was rapidly removed from the account the following day. The election occurred and Adam Garcia got the position.
Now, well into March, no word has been given as to the log’s whereabouts, nor has a bag of ash been delivered to MathSoc. Indeed, the Facebook profile has apparently been deleted or banned as of today (March 11).
Who knows what will become of MathSoc’s long-time mascot, but we’ll provide updates if any happen. If you have an idea of where it is and want drop a tip to The Spirit of WTF, you can message us here.
With the University administration’s takeovercontrolofthe Federation Hall on everyone’s minds, we thought that we’d post a few tidbits about the building:
Federation Hall originally to be used by the undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo as a night club. Currently it’s thought to be the largest student-owned bar in North America.
Over the years the hall has been host to some big name concerts:
The Jeff Healey Band
Spirit of the West
The solar panels on the roof were the result of the Sustainable Technology Education Project student group and were added to the building in 2004.
Finally, we end off with an article we came across last week during our research:
June 21, 1989 — UW Federation Hall architects win award
The architectural firm of Dunlop Farrow Aitken Cansfield Inc. has won an award of excellence from the Ontario Association of Architects for its design of the University of Waterloo’s Federation Hall. The architects were lauded for their successful combination of high tech and traditional materials and for the design’s “elegant” detailing and craftmanship.
According to Mei Ling Tamkei (VP of Communications for UW EWB):
“It was not difficult to do… We had a computer program that helped us plan out which shutters to open and close, as well as a team of people who we split up the floors among. It was done as a part of a 2 day blowout of EWB activities called ‘EWB Days’.”
A dedicated group of Grebelites have been ensuring that the Dana Porter library has been part of the Pi-Day celebrations for the past 3 years. By arranging the curtains in the windows, they have made various designs celebrating the day.
2009 - The digits of pi, going around all four sides of the building. Good to 20 digits. (“3.14159265358979323846…”)
2010 - Greek letter Pi.
2011 - The same design as 2010.
Because they wrote into the Daily Bulletin in 2010, we know that the 2010 group was made up of Brent Komer, Sylvia Klassen, Rob Martens, and Katie Schriener. It has become an annual tradition for them.