On the first day of the semester, students scrambled to find an Alex and Ani bracelet hidden on campus.
But the scavenger hunt’s winner wasn’t playing for himself — he wanted the prize for a friend.
“This was easy, it was something to do, and if I find it, I get brownie points from her,” said John Mullin, a junior neuroscience major. “I’m not wearing it, I know that.”
The hunt was a part of an ongoing scavenger hunt game, created by
@templetreasures Instagram account. The account creates scavenger hunts around campus with prizes including discounts at local restaurants, sports memorabilia, and Alex and Ani brand jewelry. It’s a part of the larger Campus Treasures Network LLC, a company that runs scavenger hunts through social media for college students nationwide, according to their website.
The account, with more than 5,000 followers, was created in December 2018 and leads students to treasures hidden around Temple’s campus.
When Patrick Cox participated in a hunt last November, he said treasure maps dropped from atop Charles Library with clues leading to a hidden autographed jersey from former NBA player Julius Erving.
“They just dropped all onto the ground, everyone just went crazy,” said Cox, a senior finance major. “The security guards just, they didn’t know what to do.”
Cox never found the Erving jersey, but Chris Kaye, a junior supply chain management major, did.
“It took a very long time, probably like well over a half hour, maybe even an hour long to find it,” Kaye said.
There are at least 10 other Instagram accounts at universities like the University of Missouri, West Chester University and Georgia Tech, though Temple Treasures has the largest following of the accounts.
Their website states each account is run by student ambassadors from respective schools, who are kept anonymous and in charge of creating the scavenger hunts and social media content to promote them.
Ambassadors are able to be as creative as they want when hiding their treasures. In December 2018, the account gave clues by hinting that a spot at Temple had the same atmosphere as a lyric in “Right Above” by Lil Wayne featuring Drake, according to their Instagram. The lyric hinted at a beach, directing students to Beury Beach on campus.
“We either do it as a full group or sometimes we break off into mini groups and some of us will do a hunt and a couple of us will do another,” said April Ramella, a sophomore social work major and TU ambassador for CTN. “We get together, and we have the prize beforehand and we kind of rank the treasure hunt like how hard or what it’s going to be based on, how good the prize is.”
Ramella, who agreed to reveal her identity because she’s transferring out of Temple, won a TV from the account in April 2019 before she became an ambassador.
“It kind of showed me more of Temple’s campus, and I figured if they needed interns, they needed help, so it’d be cooler to bring it bigger and make it to more campuses and everything like that,” Ramella said.
Captain Tommy Treasures is a pseudonym for the head and founder of CTN, who wants to remain anonymous.
“This is a secret team,” the website states. “No one on campus knows who is a part of Captain Tommy Treasures Crew.”
The name was derived from a real-life accident in 1986 where three men, Jack Favalon and crew members Vince Ingargiola and Tom McCarthy were run over by an oil tanker while fishing, according to the Associated Press.
Though the company wishes to remain anonymous, it doesn’t bother Kaye.
“I’m just very excited for more hunts in the spring,” he said.