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In contest videos, Simmons cameos, lecture interrupted

Eight students sprinted down the aisles of Salomon 101 during an economics class, jumped on stage and broke into off-key song.

"Why do you build me up, build me up, buttercup baby?" they sang to Senior Lecturer Rachel Friedberg, who was in the middle of her ECON 0110: "Principles of Economics" lecture.

Students filmed from the seats as the singers snapped and danced like an a cappella group, belting out the Foundations' classic hit. The video was turned in as an entry for the annual First-Pick Lottery Competition held by Residential Life.

It was one of nine videos shown to over 200 students on a big-screen projector last night in Sayles Hall in an event hosted by ResLife and Residential Council.

Students voted for their favorite videos after all nine were screened. The group with the winning video will be given the first choice in the housing lottery this April.

"The goal of our video was to do something that no other group would have the balls to do," said Alex Tin '12, one of the "Build Me Up Buttercup" singers.

The videos' storylines varied from a group of freshmen avoiding an attacking Bruno to one student's pursuit of a Young Orchard dorm, told as a love story.

"This was a lot more about the movie for us than the competition," said Anish Farma '12, director of the attacking Bruno film.

Farma's video, "Ruthless," featured a cameo from President Ruth Simmons as the conniving director behind the bear attacks.

"We realized that Ruth would be a sick addition," said Brent Zajaczkowski '12, another member of the "Ruthless" group, about involving the popular Simmons in the filming. The group realized that Simmons had one open office hour every month and went in to ask for her help with the project.

"She was really nice about it. We told her the story and she was completely willing to help," Zajaczkowski said.

The videos will be posted online within a week, though ResCouncil Chairman James Reed '09 said the Council is uncertain exactly when they will be posted. Students will have another week to vote for their favorite videos online.

The event also included information tables for program houses, Greek houses and special-interest housing.

"The point really is to raise interest about the lottery, about special-interest housing, program and Greek houses," Reed said.

Some students visited the information tables before and after the videos played, but most students enjoyed the food and drinks before the show and left right after the screenings ended.

"That was expected," said ResCouncil Lottery Subcommittee Chair Ben Lowell '10. "I think information got across to people who wanted to ask questions and people who just wanted to watch got to."

Reed said the event was also a time for the council to tell the student body, "It's time to start thinking about where you're going to be living this year."

Some version of the first-pick competition has been around since at least the early 1990s, Reed said, but it has changed in form. In past years, students have sung karaoke, danced in talent shows and even gone on scavenger hunts, he said.

Last year was the first year the competition was made into a public event. The event was a talent competition, featuring videos, live bands and dancers. This year, the competition was limited to videos only.

ResCouncil chose to limit the entries to only videos this year so it could combine the event with online voting, Lowell said.

"It gives it more cohesiveness because they're all videos," he said. "It makes it easier to decide which was best."

Reed said the winners will be announced at the end of next week, or early the following week, once the online results are tallied. Though Reed was uncertain of the exact date the winners will be notified, he said they will know by "Super Deadline Day" on March 3.

The winners will preselect their room before the actual lottery nights, which will be held on Apr. 2 and Apr. 6 at 6 p.m. in Sayles Hall.

James Hunter '12, one of the "Build Me Up Buttercup" singers said his group doesn't know which room they would choose if they won.

"The point is to win," he said. "Then we'll pick."


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