Somewhere on the University of Maryland’s campus, there are hidden Chipotle gift cards, Kind Snacks and a signed Eli Manning jersey.
University students are taking part in a campuswide scavenger hunt that began Sept. 8, led by startup company Campus Pursuit.
Co-founded by Binghamton University graduates Scott Wisotsky and Shachar Avraham in January 2014, the scavenger hunt aims to connect college students with brands, Avraham said.
“We were looking to connect brands with college students in a more meaningful, impactful way,” said Wisotsky, the company’s CEO.
Students can join the treasure hunt by downloading the Campus Pursuit app on their iPhone or Android phone.
Every Monday through Friday, users receive push notifications hinting where prizes have been hidden, Wisotsky said.
It’s then up to the student to follow the clues and claim their reward.
“A prize could literally be right under your seat,” Wisotsky said.
Four to six prizes are hidden on any given day, such as products from MeUndies, Neuro Drinks, Moon Cheese and Fiverr, Wisotsky said.
After winning a prize, users are asked to take a selfie with their reward and share it on social media through the app, Wisotsky said.
Campus Pursuit is planning to reach out to companies in the College Park area, Wisotsky said.
The startup will soon be creating a staff position responsible for connecting to local businesses, said Esther Oh, a senior accounting major, this university’s leader for Campus Pursuit.
Oh acts as the primary liaison between Campus Pursuit headquarters and the brand ambassadors on the campus.
“It’s a very engaging way to find free stuff,” Oh said. “And we all know college students love free stuff.”
The University of Maryland’s team has three brand ambassadors who run the campus scavenger hunt by updating the app daily and hiding prizes, Oh said.
Junior Tiffany Khong, a brand ambassador, said while hiding prizes and writing clues is fun, she particularly enjoys seeing students win free stuff.
“I really like the concept of the app,” said the finance and marketing major. “If I’m having a bad day, finding a prize would make things a lot better.”
Josh Sheldon, a junior mechanical engineering major, found out about Campus Pursuit through an advertisement placed under a door and downloaded the app. He found a Chromecast, a Google device that allows users to stream content from their computers onto their televisions.
“That seems to be one of the bigger prizes they have, but I’ll keep searching for sure,” Sheldon said.
Other prize-winners, like Jess Huang, are not as eager to play again. The freshman, enrolled in letters and sciences, found a package with Kind Bars and razors.
“I’m not super interested in the sponsors that are giving out the prizes,” he said.
Campus Pursuit is active on 15 campuses in seven states, according to its website. By next fall, the company plans to be active on 50 college campuses nationwide, Avraham said.
“We really think we can make a student’s day a little brighter through these prizes and scavenger hunts,” Wisotsky said.