During the academic year of 2020-21, student unions started worrying about how students had got stuck at home with all the lectures being given remotely and the gyms staying closed. The unions contacted CampusSport and joined forces in planning a project that would change all this and bring out the students to get moving again in the outdoors. This resulted in the creation of geocaching routes that students could use, both to get exercise, learn about their home city, and experience the joy of discovery. Geocaching is a bit like a treasure hunt – certain coordinates reveal a hidden cache, some sort of a container with a notebook inside. Everyone marks their initials and the date in the notebook and returns it to the same place. Several mobile applications have been developed for this, and the most popular of these is called Geocaching.
When I started working in the CampusSport geocaching project in May, I thought of TYS locations as one route option almost right away. The locations are close to students, and while the idea is to get the students and staff on the move outside of their homes, it is nice to start off in one’s own yard and take it further from there. The result that we carried out in cooperation with the Turku Student Village Foundation is the CAMPUSSPORT X TYS geocaching route that has now been published for all students to explore!
The cache descriptions include interesting excerpts from the locations’ histories and urban legends, although I had other options in mind. Dystopias and alternate future visions sounded like fun, so I sketched monsters and UFOs in the Student Village on paper. You never know who might have found them interesting, but I guess an overview of history is a better and safer option.
The real difficulty was in choosing good hiding places. There are lots of rules regarding geocaching spots, such as keeping a minimum distance of 161 metres between the spots. Also, you cannot check all the caches on the Geocaching website, as the map does not show the actual hiding places for mystery- or multicaches. However, together with TYS communications coordinator Marja, we managed to choose 13 hiding places near different housing locations. Unfortunately, not all of these made it to the final route as they did not comply with the distance rule of 161 metres, and we could not find alternative spots for them.
The second hardest thing was to choose a suitable cache container – it must not be too visible and easy, yet it has to be durable and not too difficult either. We wanted the route to be suitable for both beginners and more experienced geocachers. We were able to get most of the hiding jars straight from the geocaching online store, but we also needed to adapt and get inventive. But according to the feedback we have received so far, everything has been working well and let’s hope things stay that way!
Planning the caches has been really fun and interesting even if we seemed to almost run out time towards the end. Yet we managed to finish everything and now there they are, to be freely enjoyed by all! We wish that our caches will bring the joy of searching and finding for you, regardless of whether you are out to get them all at once or just one spot at a time.
In addition to the CAMPUSSPORT X TYS route, we designed six short routes for the GoCache application. Two of these are already open and the rest will be launched during the semester. Some of the themes include Via Dolorosa at the Ruisrock festival and campus area art.
The project site is at www.campuscache.fi where you can find detailed instructions on how to start caching.
CampusSport / Turku University