It was sink or swim for scores of Stony Brook students as they broke from studying to blow off steam.
Roth Pond, a 200-yard body of water in the middle of campus, is usually nothing more than a scenic spot to pass between classes. But on Friday, it became a hotbed of activity for the 26th annual Roth Pond Regatta, where students floated themselves along in makeshift boats constructed of nothing more than cardboard, duct tape and paint.
The event started in 1989 on the campus as a means for the students to break from the stress of finals season. Each year since, students have built boats to float anywhere from one to four people across the pond in the high-spirited and festive competition before exams engulf the campus.
This year’s theme was mainstream fantasy, and the floats reflected just that. The floating vessels were made of simple everyday products, but the end products ranged anywhere from nostalgic shout-outs, to mock creatures plucked out of fantasyland. Students crafted boats like the Pirates of the Caribbean’s Black Pearl, the genie from Aladdin and even a Space Jam float with a cardboard Michael Jordan reaching for a long dunk at the watercraft’s front side.
Senior Kareem Ibrahem joined his classmates as he got ready to launch his own sleek ship — a mishmash of duct tape and cardboard with a giraffe’s head dangling atop a long cardboard neck. Friends were asking him the name of his vessel.
“Don’t sink about it,” he said with an ear-to-ear grin.
The event was hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government and included students from various student organizations, administrative departments and alumni.
This version corrects a typo in the description of the Space Jam boat.