McNeely Center event provides fun, honors fallen SJU graduate

Bookmark and Share

September 23, 2020

Team ChiquiBabies

Team ChiquiBabies, which finished third, completed a challenge with a team member wearing three items of protective articles.

During these trying times, we could all use a smile or a good laugh to help us get through the day.

Having a little bit of levity, while honoring the memory of a former E-Scholar, management major (the forerunner to today’s global business leadership major) and a 2011 Saint John’s University alumnus who passed away in 2016, were the impetus for the 2020 Spark to Start: David Forster Campus Challenge.


The event was created by the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship and Forster’s family to honor David’s memory and bring to life who he was with an array of fun and creative challenges on both the College of Saint Benedict and SJU campuses while also engaging the McNeely Center’s mission of “Inspiring the Entrepreneurial Spirit.”

Moved to a seven-day event this year because of COVID-19, 30 teams of two students each participated in a scavenger hunt/challenge to honor Forster.

The top three teams earned cash prizes from the McNeely Center and will receive recognition on the iconic trophy in the McNeely Center. The prize-winning teams, which were announced Sept. 21, included:

  • First place, earning $300, was Team Pepperoni Tonies (senior Jacob Scherber and first-year Jorge Hernandez).
  • Second prize, earning $200, was Team Boni2Boys (sophomore Evan Atkins and junior Will Mattock).
  • Third prize, earning $100, was Team ChiquiBabies (sophomore Enrique Huapilla-Perez and sophomore Alejandro Barron).
  • Two teams received honorable mention status and received Embrace Ambiguity T-shirts: fourth-place finisher Team Not Fast Just Furious (junior Sara Holmes and senior Katie Mendel) and fifth-place finisher Team Sudz (sophomore Betsy Ruckman and sophomore Anna Spreck).

“We knew this year’s event would have to be different because we couldn’t gather like we have done in the past, so switching over to an online platform where students could still be socially distant, and follow safety procedures while still having fun, explore the campuses, and get to know the Center was really important,” said Kelli Gradin, coordinator for the McNeely Center.

This year, using an app called Goosechase, teams were given three new challenges each morning between Sept. 14-20. (In previous years, the event was held in one day.) Teams received points for completing each mission.

Among a sampling of the missions included snapping a picture of a team member wearing at least three pieces of personal protection equipment (day one); taking a photo of at least three unique doors at CSB and SJU (day two); finding David Forster’s bench and taking a socially distant selfie (day three); and creating a new coffee drink for Clemens Perk at CSB or the Schu at SJU (day six).

 “Being able to pivot to, figure it out and embrace ambiguity are all mantras of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which were exemplified in the 2020 event,” Gradin added.