On the third week of November 2020, AAU Spirit Week commenced in a curious new format: as a competition between the five AAU schools. Business Administration, International Relations, Humanities, Law, and Journalism & Visual Art faced off for the title of the most spirited school in a series of challenges and competitions organized by the Student Council with the help of AAU staff. 

For Spirit Week each school gathered a team of about ten people to represent them. The overall theme of the week was Disney and every school had its own film concept. The somewhat  unexpected choices of film themes included: Star Wars, Phineas and Ferb, 101 Dalmatians, Coco and Fantasia respectively to the schools as mentioned above. 

Monday the 23rd was the first day. Participants had a chance to play Among Us with their peers from different schools and earn points for their teams. The two Among Us sessions, that took place throughout Monday, were a success and the SC have decided to keep the server up to allow AAU students to connect through Among Us in the future. 

The spirit video contest, the deadline for which was also the 23rd, proved to be a good opportunity for each school to get creative! From Star Wars-inspired action comedy by the school of Business, to Law’s heartwarming “What AAU means to you”, to dramatic montage and voiceover from Journalism and Visual Arts, the spirit videos truly sparked competition. The school of International Relations took the first win of the week with a fun concept and impressive team spirit. All five videos are up on SC social media and hilarious to watch! 

On Tuesday, teams of five students from each school faced each other in a virtual Disney-themed pop quiz, created and hosted by AAU staff member Joel Imhoof. It was a passionate and speedy competition, teams scrambling to remember Disney characters’ sidekicks and theme songs. Only four points separated the winner from the school that come in last. Teams tried to call each other out for using Google, but only humorously, as everyone had agreed to play fair and have fun. 

Wednesday the 25th, the five AAU schools faced off in an online Treasure Hunt. Mickey Mouse’s rival, Peg-Leg Pete, is out to ruin AAU Spirit Week — teams were told, — he has kidnapped the AAU mascot, our peacock! Armed with just a few clues: a crossword challenge, a substitution cypher, a sudoku game and pieces of a mysterious puzzle scattered around the clue sheets, teams were tasked with finding the AAU peacock somewhere in the world. Puzzle solutions, such as a painting by Rubens, a reference to Franz Ferdinand and geographical coordinates near Benesov, led teams to figuring out that the peacock was hidden in the Rose Garden near Konopiste Palace. The hunt (designed by Dan Padolsky, AAU’s Student Life Specialist and one of the organizers of Spirit Week) proved challenging — the winning team’s time was just over nine hours; two teams failed to finish the quest. 

Thursday night, teams submitted their AAU t-shirt designs, which the community had a chance to vote on the next day on SC Instagram. Designs were uploaded anonymously (although a fair share of team members shared their teams’ designs to personal accounts) and were mostly inspired by Disney films or the Czech flag. Two leaders soon faced off in a fierce social media battle: #2, a white tee with a peacock logo in front and a truthful joke, “We study in a palace…” on the back (which was later revealed to have been designed by the school of Humanities); and #5, a Dreamworks-inspired design, featuring the AAU logo and an abstract map to symbolize diversity of our community (by the school of Journalism and Visual Art). Humanities won by a dozen votes and Journalism and Visual Art came in second; their competition made the post one of the most popular SC Instagram posts up to date. 

Friday’s event, International Food Day, saw over 25 video and photo submissions of dishes from AAU students’ native countries. From a couple of step-recipes to full dinner tables worth of food, submissions were graded from 1 to 5 and helped establish what was very close to the final score. 

Starting Thursday and continuing through the weekend, each team partook in a fundraiser for the  international humanitarian organization CARE, whose work to support women’s rights, agriculture and front-line COVID-19 workers. AAU schools helped raise funds for the crisis in Yemen and coronavirus relief in particular and ended up collecting over 17 000 Czech crowns for these causes. The school of Humanities received additional distinction for raising over 10 000 in donations in just five days. 

By Sunday 29th, neither the 1st nor 3rd place was a done-deal and teams had a last chance to shift their score by sending in pictures in costumes related to their movie theme; this was a part of the costume challenge that had been ongoing since Tuesday. On the last day of Spirit Week, the SC received over 40 costume challenge entries — some very masterful and some quite comedic. 

In an interesting turn of events, the school of International Relations ultimately won the title of the most spirited with 136 points, beating the school of Humanities by just one. Journalism and Visual Art were third, with a very balanced score of 118. Business Administration had an overall score of 104 points and Law received 83. 

With results having shifted many times throughout the week and appearing completely independent from the size of each school or the number of participants on its side, Spirit Week in its new format made for an engaging and eventful rendezvous. The Student Council outdid themselves in entertaining and uniting the AAU community in these hard times. Impressive engagement of over 50 students actively participating on behalf of their schools was endearing and fun to watch. 

Congratulations to International Relations on the new title and good job to everyone who participated. We should really do this again, huh?