The first week back on campus after spring break: the sun is shining; students are recounting stories of Spring Service Partnerships and there are no exams or essays for at least two days. Life is good. A little too good. Never fear, because Fern Smith Hall is here to shake up the post-spring break bliss with a good old fashioned whodunnit. On March 18 at 8 p.m., all of campus is invited to participate in a dorm mystery where they can put together clues, solve puzzles and guess which of their beloved campus figures could have committed the crime.
Fern Fallout made its debut last spring as Fern Smith Hall’s campus dorm event, similar to Stegenga’s event Steggy Keggy or Colenbrander’s Coly Christmas. Students were invited and challenged to solve the mystery of Natalie Wheeler’s mysterious death by collecting clues and interviewing residents, all while being jump-scared by the women of the dorm. Moving through the halls in small groups, the attendees were shocked to find out at the end that a member of their own party had committed the crime.
The event, although it was the first of its kind, was a hit, not only for those who attended, but also for the Fern women involved. A lot of preparation was needed in order to pull off the event. Students decorated the exterior of the building with caution tape, put together short skits to help piece together the clues and even removed the lightbulbs from the ceilings in order to create the atmosphere of mystery. Last year, 2nd North resident Jessica Nibbelink said that it was good for wing bonding, and she explained that she “liked watching people’s reactions and hanging out with my wing as the story unfolded.” Like the other events, it offered the opportunity to showcase the creative ability and camaraderie of the members of the dorm, and this year promises to do the same.
Throughout the last month, Fern has been at work putting together the plot and preparing the details of this year’s mystery. All of the Resident Assistants in Fern contributed to the brainstorming process for the event, but Amelia Holt, Bailey Brown and Noelle Wamhoff wrote the majority of the plot. They are being intentionally secretive about the details of the event, but Holt did say that “it is a night of twists and turns.”
This year promises to be bigger, better and more puzzling than the last. Beloved Creative Dining member Kathy has been abducted, and it is up to the Northwestern student body to figure out who committed the crime. After the teaser trailer release, there has already been a buzz on campus about who could have the nerve to kidnap Kathy. Stegenga resident Anneka Sterk says that she is “really excited to save Kathy because she’s an integral part of campus, and the fact that she’s been taken by someone means that vengeance and justice needs to be dealt.” For all the criminal justice majors, Sherlock fans, amateur sleuths or anyone looking for something to do on a Saturday night, Fern Fallout is the place to be. Dust off your detective hats and bring your magnifying glass to the Caf lobby on Saturday, March 18 at 8p.m. to put your puzzle skills to the test, hang out with friends and witness the creative and chaotic ability of Fern Smith Hall.