Beating the Heat–and the Stacks

It’s not every day that you find a group of students traveling through campus dressed as minions from the movie Despicable Me. However, such sightings are par for the course on Ditch Day, an annual spring tradition at Caltech. On that day, Caltech seniors challenge underclass students to solve puzzles or complete complex tasks, called stacks, while the seniors leave campus for the day. This year’s challenges included calibrating a catapult to fling tomatoes at a target, rappelling off the side of Firestone Laboratory, and solving a complex vertical version of sudoku. In the stack pictured above, the underclass “minions” had to fashion a raft out of nothing but cardboard boxes, balloons, and duct tape—and the raft had to successfully float one passenger down the entire length of the Gene Pool. Although falling in the pool meant failing the stack, it was a welcome cooldown: the temperature on May 15—this year’s Ditch Day—was a sweltering 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

—Jessica Stoller-Conrad

Click here to see Caltech’s Ditch Day 2014 photo album on Flickr.