Risky business at Risk Factor

Friday’s event was an adrenaline-pumping chance for 20 USF students to help benefit MOSI, a not-for-profit organization.

Throughout the day, four teams competed against each other in events such as rock climbing, bungee flipping, high wire biking and Twinkie eating. Each team received T-shirts bearing names such as Science Geeks, Funology, You Are Here and Science Divas.

“Volunteering doesn’t have to be manual labor or be tedious or boring,” said Joel Bates, the special events volunteer coordinator at MOSI.

Ramiro Medal, a member of the Funology team, did 10 bungee flips in 4:50.

“I’d do it again. It was fun,” he said, “but I’m trying to get my stomach down.”Inside, the yellow-shirted Science Geeks ate Twinkies. Originally, they would have had to eat ten, but since most contestants had already eaten breakfast, the number was dropped to five.

“I’m feeling fantastic,” said Carleigh Leffert, a graduate student in English and former teacher.

Unlike the other teams, the Science Geeks had to eat Twinkies and then go straight to the bungee flipping.

“I’m the oldest person here, so it makes me feel good to do this,” Leffert said after finishing the required flips.

Leffert, like many others, found out about the event from Volunteer USF’s Community Plunge and just showed up. Many of the volunteers did not know what they would be doing.

“I’m not happy because it’s just junk food,” USF junior and pink-shirted Science Diva Ambiance Munnings said as she made a disgusted face at the plate of Twinkies.

Funology team member Laura Dalemarre said she found the rock-climbing wall interesting. It was her first time climbing. She found out about the event through Jewels of Tau, another service organization on campus.

“It’s harder than it looks,” she said as she looked at the rock climbing wall. “It’s a good workout, though, especially for upper body strength.”

One member of the team You Are Here found a way to get out of doing an event — by becoming the group photographer.

As Sarah Green watched her khaki-shirted team members on the high wire bike, she said she felt great about the event.

“Our team is the best,” Green said, “but I’m partial.”

Yet she didn’t want to participate in anything that required her to be too far off the ground.

“I’m terribly agoraphobic,”Green said. “MOSI is bringing it out of me!”

Cameron Esmkhani, on the other hand, said he liked taking risks. He biked sideways for a time and lifted his legs off the pedals. Near the end, however, he had trouble coming back to the platform because he kept sliding backwards.

“I did good until the end,” the sophomore in biomedicine said.

Green’s predictions turned out to be right. Her team came in first at the event, received blue ribbons and certificates. Esmkhani, with a time of 29 seconds, even won a box of Twinkies for his time.

“That’s torture,” one MOSI photographer said, referring to the amount of Twinkies Esmkhani had already eaten.

As far as team scores went, the Funology team came in second and was followed by Science Divas and Science Geeks.

After the games were over, the USF students were free to browse booths set up by Skate Park of Tampa and Tampa Bay Fencers. The two were part of the Extreme Sports Expo.

“We had several extreme sports lined up, but with the Hurricane (Charley), many people had to help (down South),” Bates said.

Students gathered in a circle around the fencing booth, while Don Conrad Uy walked several students through the process of fencing.

Uy, who is a USF alum in management information systems, has been fencing for 14 years.

He shared his expertise with students and taught them the meanings behind such gestures as the salute with the sword.

He said the salute developed from knights in the Middle Ages who did not know whether a combatant was friendly until the knight lifted the visor on his helmet.

Although Risk Factor ended Friday afternoon, many students, including Medal and Dalemarre, said that those first-time experiences made them want to try the activities again.