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Engineered Shenanigans: Automotive Edition

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Student pranksters pose with car in building.

Incriminating Evidence: Clark Pentico (front) and crew with the car they spirited into Moench Commons. A less incriminating photo, absent the perpetrators, ran in the Thorn the following week. (Photo courtesy Clark Pentico)

Campus has seen its share of pranksters over the years. As alumni from every generation can attest, the pranks may change, but the proclivity for blowing off a little steam through creative hijinks remains a common thread.

One of the more notorious pranksters was Clark Pentico (AO, '90), whose hijinks were well-documented thanks to his role as editor-in-chief of the Rose Thorn. One of his most famous pranks was in fact executed as payback for a trick played on him.

In 1989, Pentico and crew wedged a victim's car through the door in the Moench Commons, a feat that required both planning and hand tools. "It was determined that if the car's side-view mirrors were removed there would be about two inches on each side for clearance. Once the car was in place the mirrors were reattached."

But according to alumni visitors to Rose-Hulman's Facebook page, this wasn't the only case of automotive mischief. The 1969-70 academic year saw a VW Beetle wedged into Moench. In 2004, a Nissan was shoved into the lobby of Speed Hall. And there was the time that opportunistic pranksters used an open sunroof to fill a vehicle with popcorn.

Indeed, cars have been the focus of many pranks, including the time freshmen from Deming 2 spent months gathering hot sauce during their Taco Bell Runs before filling Resident Assistant Walt Flood's (CE, '03) Jeep with thousands of packets.

"The final count was over 60,000 packets," recalls Vice-President of Student Affairs, Erik Hayes.

"The students then took all the sauce packets and put them in the back of a pick-up, and tried to return them to Taco Bell through the drive-thru," he adds. "The guy at the window said, 'So THAT is where all of our hot sauce packets have been going!' Unfortunately, Taco Bell was not allowed to take them back."