Students participate in derby race, booths during Sun God

    Hours before the culminating concert, thousands of observers received a glimpse of a student-sculpted giant phallus attached to the Sun God sculpture and visited more than 50 different booths set up as part of the 22nd-annual Sun God festival daytime activities on May 21.

    “There were tons of people out — everyone seemed to be having a really, really great time,” A.S. Commissioner of Programming Rishi Shah said. “I was very satisfied.”

    Split among Library Walk and Sun God Lawn, different campus organizations and off-campus groups provided information and entertainment to students, while more than a dozen different entertainers offered free music on a daytime stage set up in Price Center.

    “This is the only day we can compete with [San Diego] State in partying,” said Betty Choung, a sophomore at Eleanor Roosevelt College.

    Choung said she visited many of the booths set up on Library Walk, enjoying the ones selling a variety of food.

    In addition to various clubs and Greek organizations, a roving magician and a caricature artist attracted crowds while political activists found less student interest.

    “It’s been very slow … we’re probably expecting a bigger turnout at the concert,” said Laurel Ahnston, a county organizer with Rock the Vote, a youth organization attending Sun God for the first time to register student voters.

    Ahnston said she expected to sign up only 50 new voters at the event.

    Another group of activists who campaigned on campus for several days, collecting signatures for a petition to end the construction of dumpsites on Indian lands, actually saw the number of interested students drop as more students turned out for the celebration, according to organizer Alama Peterson.

    At the same time, many students gathered around the 33 stands set up on Sun God lawn, which included a tarot card reader.

    Students competed for prize at the “Send the Aliens Home” game set up by Darkstar, the campus science fiction and gaming club.

    “We’ve been getting a lot of people. People like the little aliens — they’re cute,” said Chris Severs, an Earl Warren College junior and president of Darkstar.

    Several booths away, Student Health advocates urged passersby to “pin the condom on the man” in a game using a bull’s-eye painted onto a large drawing of a man aimed at promoting sexual awareness, according to participating ERC sophomore Angela Gazali.

    In a separate contest at the booth, students guessed the quantity of assorted condoms in a large jar for a chance to win them all.

    Nearby, a group from off campus dressed in traditional Chinese clothing and meditated to demonstrate the practice of Falun Dafa. At the booth, students were also asked to sign a petition asking for the release of an American citizen allegedly imprisoned by the Chinese government for his participation in the practice.

    “On one hand, we’re promoting the exercise, but on the other we’re also promoting the awareness of the persecution in China,” said Chung Lien, a graduate student and president of the Falun Dafa club.

    Some students also played in a large bounce house and an inflatable boxing ring set up next to a challenge course.

    Many also talked about a large ornamental phallus attached to the Sun God statue, complete with a functioning water hose that sprayed water at students on a slip ’n’ slide below.

    John Muir College junior Steve York said he had sculpted the phallus for an art class and had planned to put it up himself, though he said that he did not know who actually set it up.

    Members of The Koala, including editor in chief Bryan Barton, took credit for the installation, saying that campus administrators were at first opposed to the idea but finally acquiesced.

    “My main concern was whether the statue was damaged, and it appears no damage was done,” said Stuart Art Collection Director Mary Beebe, explaining that she left the decision about the addition to Sun God organizers.

    At 1 p.m., students gathered in front of Geisel Library to watch the first-annual Triton Junkyard Derby, inspired by the television show “Junkyard Wars” and co-sponsored by the UCSD Alumni Association and the Triton Engineering Student Council.

    Participating students used scraps from a junkyard at Physical Plant Services and help from alumni to construct boxcars used for the race.

    “We’ve been looking for a creative way to bring alumni back to Sun God, which is a great event, and add just something that’s really spirited,” said John Valva, executive director of the Alumni Association.

    In the final race, liberal arts team Darkside beat out the engineering team Constitution by less than one second to win the “perpetual trophy,” made from an old road sign.

    For Thurgood Marshall College junior Sandeep Chouksey, the most enjoyable part of Sun God was other people.

    “It was all about mingling and all about togetherness,” he said.

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