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Oceanography Club hosts haunted house

After a biological viral experiment went wrong, University students became cannibalistic, feeding on others during the second annual “Haunting of Lipman House: The Feeding,” sponsored by the Oceanography Club.

“We take pride in providing a fun and stress-relieving quality haunted event around Halloween,” said Dave Kaminsky, head of the event. “This is our biggest annual fundraising event and it’s a great time for the Rutgers student body to come together for a fun night with their friends.”

The event, funded through the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Governing Council, also served as a great opportunity for the members of the Oceanography Club to bond through the team-building activity, said Kaminsky, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior.

Amelia Snow, Oceanography Club president, said this year’s haunted house was more successful than last year, with about 550 students showing up between the event’s two nights, which were last Monday and Tuesday

“We had over 200 more people go through the haunted house compared to last year,” said Snow, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior. “There was definitely a buzz around campus leading up to the event and a lot of people were looking forward to coming for a great time.”

Kaminsky, Oceanography Club vice president, said when planning the haunted house, the club took the specifics of design and quality into account.

“We didn’t want a haunted house where the actors jumped out, said ‘boo’ and ran away,” he said. “We spent a lot of time designing the theme, scenes, props and scares around what people might fear rather than just loud noises that might startle them for a split second.”

Snow said positive feedback from last year helped in planning a theme and layout within the house.

“There were various scenes inside the house, such as the lab where the mishap occurred, bedroom scenes, the kitchen where remains were prepared and crypts where bodies were held,” she said.

Actors also played various roles, including the scientist that caused the virus and students displaying various symptoms of the infection, Snow said.

It was a huge team effort, Kaminsky said.

“All of the actors and staff outside the house were Oceanography Club members,” he said.

Aside from some last minute changes, the event ran smoothly on both days, Kaminsky said.

“The Rutgers Fire Department informed us that we wouldn’t be able to use one of the floors due to strict fire codes, so we had to regroup to only use two floors instead of three as intended,” he said. “It actually ended up helping the guests spend more time in the house.

Snow said many people were impressed with how the event was done.

“On Tuesday night, some students waited in line for almost three hours just to go through the house and when asked at the end, all agreed it was worth the wait,” she said.

Kaminsky said it was amazing and fulfilling to see the reactions from the guests.

“We didn’t see a single person who looked bored or comfortable throughout the entire house either night,” Kaminsky said. “Some people’s legs gave out and they dropped to the floor crying in a fetal position, while some others walked into the house, saw the scene and ran straight back out the front door.”

Shinal Patel, Rutgers-Newark Business School junior, said she does not get scared easily, but the haunted house challenged her fears.

“This was one of the best experiences I had at a haunted house,” she said. “I loved the background story and little snippets that they included from popular movies.”

Kaminsky said this year was more successful in every way.

“Our budget increased five-fold from last year, so the house, scenes and actors were much more detailed,” he said. “We also took everything from last year and built upon it to produce an even scarier attraction.”

All proceeds will be donated toward marine science and medical charities, Kaminsky said.

Some funds will go to a project with the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, Fla., Snow said.

“Other funds will be donated to various charities such as the ALS Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Turtle Hospital and the Manatee Sighting Network at Dauphin Island Sea Lab,” she said.

Planning the event, working on the house, building things, setting up and training actors took more than two months to prepare, Snow said.

“Many of us who were significant in the planning and design of the event will be graduating, but we will be encouraging and collaborating with the younger club members to keep the event going,” Kaminsky said.

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