These Students Hid $1,000 in WSP for Their New Treasure Hunt

All proceeds from this NYU student-made treasure hunt go to charity.


Katie Peurrung

People enjoying the weather in Washington Square Park. While not stereotypically productive, it can be beneficial for the body and mind to go for a walk. (Photo by Katie Peurrung)

By Olivia Kormos, Contributing Writer

A detour through Washington Square Park usually means glancing at chubby squirrels and avoiding eye contact with that annoying guy in your recitation. But imagine walking through the park with the knowledge that somewhere, $1,000 lays hidden.

The Treasure Hunt, a new organization run by NYU students, wants your life to look more like the second scenario. Of course, there won’t actually be $1,000 physically nestled under a bench in the park, clarified the team, but the winner of the pursuit will receive that cash amount after-the-fact.

The great minds behind this WSP-based pursuit, Stern sophomore Steven Schwartz, Stern senior Chris Osufsen, SPS junior Leon Li and Steinhardt sophomore Andrew Lee, have worked long and hard to bring the elaborate scavenger hunt to life. Here’s how it works: one can enter the hunt by registering online and paying $5 before the hunt start date, Oct. 7. Then, clues will be posted to The Treasure Hunt’s social media accounts. These could be anything from a riddle, to a math problem, to a clue involving interacting with local businesses, said Schwartz.

Other than those details? You’ll have to sign up to find out the team said. They don’t want to give too much away to those not paying to play. Some students are irked rather than intrigued by the lack of information given in advance, however.

“I’d like to know more about what the treasure hunt is about,” said Tisch first-year Calvin Osorio. “The fact that it’s in Washington Square Park is all I know about it.”

But student concerns may be quelled when they learn that the clues lead to an object, which according to Osufsen will then be turned in to The Treasure Hunt team in exchange for a thousand dollars in cash.

“We aren’t asking people to stand in the park for an entire week,” said Lee. “It may take only five minutes of your time and you could be a thousand dollars richer.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised by the treasure hunts will go toward charity, with the first hunt’s proceeds going toward the New York Dance Marathon. “We just want to get as many people donating as possible,” said Lee. “We find that very rarely you get an opportunity to win a lot of money while doing something for a noble cause.”

This emphasis on charity and fun resonates with students as well. “It sounds like it feels good to take part in it,” said Tisch first-year Christina Cavazos. “This is definitely something I’d love to do, both to give back to the city and to get to know it a little better.”

Above all, The Treasure Hunt seeks to create an event which not only helps out a good cause, but gets people actively involved in their community.

“It’s almost entirely in your control and your effort,” said Schwartz. “We all don’t really like to portray it as a random charity raffle. Effort is directly correlated to winning — or not winning, finding the prize.”

The first hunt begins at noon on Sunday, Oct. 7. You can sign up by going to its website, and clues will be posted on its Instagram and Twitter accounts.


Email Olivia Kormos at [email protected]