Fair Lawn—If you come across a group of college students dashing towards a random room on campus, overturning cushions and moving around furniture, don’t be confused. You’ve simply run across a scavenger hunt, a daily occurrence on many college campuses across the U.S.
In 2014, Shachar Avraham and Scott Wisotsky launched Campus Pursuit, an app that organizes scavenger hunts on college campuses. The two Fair Lawn natives came up with the idea of partnering with different local and national brands who pay them to be a part of the app and provide different products and coupons for prizes.
Wisotsky explained to the Jewish Link how Campus Pursuit is meant to benefit the community as a whole. “We realized that a lot of businesses want to advertise and reach college students. We also wanted to put a smile on the faces of the student body and help the community,” said Wisotsky.
The two partners are roommates at Binghamton University and originally launched the app exclusively on their campus in 2014. Now, it has expanded to 15 campuses and it is only growing. “Next fall, we hope to be in 50 campuses,” Avraham told the Jewish Link. “For our ultimate goal, we want to be operating scavenger hunts across the country.”
Since its inception in 2014, Campus Pursuit has grown exponentially and is now working with national brands. What started out with just local pizza shops and laundromats has turned into partnerships with major companies—including Chipotle, KIND Snacks, Fiverr, NFL Sunday Ticket and Neuro Drinks.
“It wasn’t that hard to get the national brands on board,” explained Wisotsky. “They realized that this is a unique, organic and rewarding way to advertise. There’s no other brand out there doing anything like this. Meeting the right people within the brands was hard but once I talked to them, it was a no-brainer.”
Obviously, Avraham and Wisotsky can’t be on 15 campuses every day. This is where student ambassadors come in—these Campus Pursuit employees are responsible for planning and implementing the daily scavenger hunts on their campus. Currently, there are 45 student ambassadors and there are plans to recruit even more.
An ambassador hides the prize and then sends out a push notification to all the participants on campus, informing them that a prize has been hidden. A clue such as, “Hey, are you at the student center? Check under a pillow…” will prompt a mad dash to the student center. Once a student finds the prize, they scan the attached QR code uniquely linked to the prize to let everyone know that it’s been found.
The ambassadors are also responsible for signing on local businesses in their college towns and receive a commission on each sale they close. “Through the student ambassador program we are helping students gain invaluable marketing and sales experience and empowering them to run scavenger hunts on campus that enhance campus life,” said Avraham.
Beverly Wallenstein, a student at Cornell University, started off as a participant and now works as a student ambassador. She describes how sometimes she will see two people run into a room and begin to (good naturedly) fight over a gift or coupon. “My favorite part of working for Campus Pursuit is remembering how exciting it is to find the prizes,” said Wallenstein. “After I set the notifications, I’ll sit back and watch.”
The app has recently been improved to add even more interactive features, one of them being a “selfie feature” where the prize winners are asked if they want to take a selfie with their prize and post it on social media. This adds another level of interaction for the winners and is even more great advertising for the brands—a win-win for both sides.
By Bracha Leah Palatnik