REW and Campus Community Celebrate Pi Day with Pie

In honor of Pi Day, the ​​Department of Residential Engagement and Wellbeing hosted the college’s first annual Pi Day celebration, a scavenger hunt that offered pie as a reward for locating Pi symbols placed around campus.

REW and Campus Community Celebrate Pi Day with Pie
Students turned in Pi symbols found in the college-wide scavenger hun at the REW table in exchange for fresh pies from local vendors. Photo courtesy of Philip Fennell.

On Thursday, March 14, the College hosted its first annual Pi Day Celebration, hosted by the Department of Residential Engagement and Wellbeing. Students were able to participate in a campus-wide scavenger hunt in order to trade a “pi for a pie.”

Pi Day commemorates the well-known mathematical constant π, which appears in many major math and physics formulas. It represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, meaning that for any circle, the distance around the edge is about 3.14 times larger than the distance across the same circle. Pi is an irrational number with an infinite number of digits, beginning with 3.14, which is why Pi Day falls on March 14 annually.

Community Advisor and The Student’s Managing Puzzles Editor John Joire ’26 was the mastermind behind the event.

“During CA training in January, the [Community Development Coordinators] organized an initiative called the Mammoth Tank, like Shark Tank. I submitted three ideas … [including] a Pi Day scavenger hunt,” he said. “As a CA, I try to inject my interests into my programs since I think it makes them generally better. I like games and math, and this seemed like the perfect way to merge the two.”

Community Development Coordinator Philip Fennell, alongside Joire, was responsible for executing the scavenger hunt. Once he heard Joire’s idea, Fennell quickly took the lead in planning the event.

“Planning the program involved me and John meeting a few times to brainstorm ideas and discuss the logistics for how the program should be facilitated,” he said. “During these conversations, we discussed how many pi symbols to hide across campus, where to hide them, where we would purchase the pies, how and where we would hand out the pies to students, etc.”

In an email to The Student, Fennell described the process leading up to the event. “At roughly 4:30 in the morning, I traveled all over campus covering just about every portion of campus with the symbols. I hid them in bushes, trees, and inside of academic buildings, as well as staking them into the ground.” Once they found a π, students then traded their symbol at the Residential Engagement and Wellbeing (REW) table on the Valentine Quad for a pie of their choice from Atkins Farm or The Humble Peach.

“I got the strawberry rhubarb, which was a bit controversial, but I thought it was delicious,” said Ellen Wolstenholme ’27. “With the ice cream from Val … it was splendid!”

Starting at 8 a.m., students were allowed to begin the search for pi, which were seemingly everywhere.

Wolstenholme noted “I had a lab at 8 a.m., so when I was walking, I found two signs. “It was early in the morning, and they were just there. I ended up giving one of the signs to my lab partner.”

“I was on my way to class and found it on my usual path,” Armando Garcia ’25 added. “It was meant to be.”  

The event drew significant student engagement. At 10:20 a.m., Fennell sent an email saying that the REW had nearly run out of pies, just two hours after the hunt began.

“I was shocked by how many pi symbols were found in such a short period. It has made me think about how I need to get more tricky and creative with hiding them next year,” he said.

Both Joire and Fennell were encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by all the students and are already planning next year’s celebration.