We've all seen the videos of students flooding the streets of Kingston on homecoming, heard stories of their epic parties and learned about all the crazy shenanigans that the students at Queen's University get into. When I started my first year at Queen's, the craziest things I learned were definitely from my friends in engineering. By far the craziest activity that engineers get up to involves a food tradition at Queen's I'll never forget.

Who Are Those Purple Kids?

Engineers at Queen's have built themselves a reputation of epic proportions, and a set of crazy expectations to live up to. One tradition that is held dear to all engineering students is earning their "bars". Students of all years can complete "challenges" to earn a badge (called a bar) to put on their GPA Jackets. While many of these bars are earned during drinking games or crazy stunts, a few are earned through old-fashioned fun. 

Games? I Like Games...

One funny food bar the engineers came up with is named "Rocky Road". In order to earn this bar, you must steal a full-sized tub of ice cream from either Leonard or Ban Righ Dining Halls, or even from The Lazy Scholar (if you're brave enough). 

Sound too easy? The twist is that you have to bring it to the second-floor undergrad lounge in Miller Hall for the Geologists and Geo-Engineers to enjoy. I can't count how many times I've walked into a dining hall without ice cream, because someone was too busy earning a bar to save any for the rest of us. 

The stunt has been pulled off by so many daring students you begin to wonder why they continue to serve us ice cream at all. Although, unfortunately for the rest of us, once someone has stolen a tub of ice cream from the cafeteria, there's a slim chance of there being ice cream served any time for at least a couple weeks.

I Could Eat... What Other Bars Can I Get?

Another challenge that is tried and tried again by students is a bar called "21 Gun Salute". To obtain this bar, one must start by successfully drinking 21 cups of assorted beverages from either Ban Righ or Leonard dining halls. This means downing 21 kinds of juice, water, milk, and soda within less than an hour. 

Next, students have to run to the opposite dining hall and tap one of its walls. This challenge, including actually drinking the 21 beverages, can't take more than an hour or else a student gets disqualified. Plus, you aren't allowed to throw up either. While this seems easy on paper, the amount of liquid being consumed seems to exceed the actual capacity of the human stomach!

No Thanks, I'm Not Doing That One... 

Now, I firmly believe that the funniest and best part of this bar is being a spectator. Almost every week would see students try to fill their dinner trays full of glasses, only to be foiled by the dining hall staff. The next week they would try again, maybe by splitting the cups up between their friends, only to be tracked down and stopped another time.

Once in a while, when you would be enjoying a quiet, uneventful dinner, you would suddenly see a kid running across the hall to the bathroom, and you knew he wasn't getting his bar that day. "21 Gun Salute" is definitely a food tradition at Queen's that is impossible to forget. 

What If I'm Not An Engineer?

During my first year, I was surrounded by engineers, and they've since become some of my closest friends and even neighbours. Naturally, I was included in a ton of the shenanigans and had the choice of attempting some bars myself or just standing back and watching them try the ridiculous challenges themselves.

Usually, with lots of effort, a little help, and a few cuts and bruises or a twisted knee, they completed each one, all with a good story to tell along with it. Their jackets from now on will be covered with bars of all sorts, each rightfully earned in some bout of bravery or maybe just stupidity.

Emily Deszpoth

My Take On It?

Watching my friends try over and over again to pass these challenges have become some of my best and funniest memories from my first year at Queen's. One of my friends even successfully completed "21 Gun Salute". Between gulps and glasses, and the walk between dining halls, the whole thing was hilarious and unbelievable. All the bars prove how determined, insane, and adventurous our Queen's engineers are; and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Emily Deszpoth