Where’s Ellen?

Participants in Ellen DeGeneres’ Twitter Challenge looted Price Center on Oct. 15 for a chance to win tickets to DeGeneres’ “12 Days of Giveaways” show.

The challenge, which was a scavanger hunt, required participants to produce corn products and red towels as quickly as they could. This led to students stealing from several Price Center restaurants.

The challenge was announced at 8:33 a.m. on Oct. 15 with this Tweet from DeGeneres: “If you know what UCSD stands for, then you should probably be looking out for my tweets…”

The challenge officially began when Ellen tweeted that the first person to bring any type of corn product to Aaron Pinkston, DeGeneres’s field producer, would be in the running to win a prize.

“There was a giant crowd outside at PC,” ERC sophomore Gilbert Tercerro said. “Then someone said something on stage, and then people just started rushing inside and going everywhere. It was crazy.”

Some participants resorted to stealing corn products such as Pirate’s Booty from Price Center locations, including Jamba Juice and the Sunshine Market.

“People were running in and stealing things on, apparently, a scavenger hunt for this show, and running out without paying,” UCSD Police Officer G. Williams said. “On top of that there are people stripping down to their underwear in the food court where people are eating. OK? We’re at a point where this is beyond acceptable and it is disrupting the university.”

The looting also caused other discouraged students to leave the event.

“When people started stealing I just left because you can’t compete with that, and I just thought it was lame,” Revelle sophomore Amber Frauhiger said.

The winners of the corn challenge were brought to the second floor of Price Center, where they were instructed to take a picture of themselves, wearing only a red towel and posing with someone in a uniform, in under 15 minutes.

“As the second round began, we bolted away, and I overheard someone say that UCSD catering had red towels,” Warren senior Michael Kirkpatrick , a winner from the event, said. “I ran to catering and found a very nice manager who directed me to a red tablecloth. I was then able to take a photo with someone from Jamba Juice to qualify as a person in uniform.”

Students who expected DeGeneres at the event were disappointed.

“I went to the event because I wanted to see Ellen DeGeneres,” Frauhiger said. “I’m not going to lie. She’s hilarious. At that point [when I found out Ellen wasn’t going to be there], I didn’t really care anymore. I was like ‘If she’s not here I don’t want to be here.’”

Other contestants enjoyed playing the game despite DeGeneres’ absence.

“For me it was a very exciting event,” Kirkpatrick said. “It was a blast running around Price Center and seeing the enthusiasm of the other students. I spoke to Ellen’s film crew and had the advantage of knowing that she was not attending. But not knowing wouldn’t have changed my decision to attend the event.”

Prompted by Degeneres’ Twitter posting the night before, about 500 students gathered in Price Center Plaza on Oct. 15 to participate in a scavenger hunt. (Timothy Wong/Guardian)
Prompted by Degeneres’ Twitter posting the night before, about 500 students gathered in Price Center Plaza on Oct. 15 to participate in a scavenger hunt. (Timothy Wong/Guardian)

Five finalists, including Kirkpatrick, were awarded trips to Los Angeles and tickets to the show.

“It was a blast!” Kirkpatrick said. “It was incredible to see the amount of people in Price Center with their enthusiasm.”

The competition is slated to air Monday on KNSD at 3 p.m.

Readers can contact Sarah Smith at [email protected].

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