Heave! ‘Treasure’ found, hunt is off

Two NIU students found the paperweight on the fourth day of the 2023 Northern Star Treasure Hunt.


Nyla Owens

Hunter Mason (left), a junior geology major and Cole Phillips, a senior geology major, are the 2023 treasure hunt winners. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

By Northern Star Staff

On the fourth day of the 2023 Northern Star Treasure Hunt NIU students Hunter Mason, a junior geology major, and Cole Phillips, a senior geology major, found the hidden paperweight.

“I found it outside of Montgomery Hall in the parking lot between the two signs,” Mason said.

Mason and Phillips said they started hunting Wednesday morning and that today’s clue helped give away the location of the paperweight.

“We were looking for about an hour (today),” Phillips said.

When Mason told Phillips he found it while they were searching, Phillips said he didn’t believe him at first.

“He (Phillips) didn’t believe me at first, and I like immediately saw it and was like trying to get it out of there,” Mason said. 

“He was on the other side of the sign and he was like grabbing something, I didn’t believe him,” Phillips said.

Cole Phillips (left) and Hunter Mason found the paperweight and took home approximately $300 worth of gift cards, cash and physical prizes. (Madelaine Vikse)

Mason and Phillips are both members of the NIU Geology Club.


This was both Phillips’ and Mason’s first time participating in the treasure hunt.

As winners of the treasure hunt, Mason and Phillips took home approximately $300 in gift cards for local businesses, as well as cash and other physical prizes.


The paperweight was hidden in the blue parking lot of Montgomery Hall. The paperweight had velcro on the back of it, then was sandwiched between the signs at the entrance of the lot.




You’ll find me near the 100-year-old spot for graduation,
But don’t be confused – atoll is the translation.
Just a short walk away,
You don’t need to stray,
But the geese may unveil their agitation.

Graduations used to be held on the island (an atoll) in the East Lagoon. The hiding spot is less than a two-minute walk from the island.



Unscramble this clue:
however, at you claustrophobic I the geese my stationed whom I post, am watch roast, I feel

“I am stationed at my post,
I watch the geese whom you roast,
However, I feel claustrophobic”

This poem should point treasure finders toward a post near geese, and with a little bit of room to hide the paperweight.



The phrase below will show the next clue! (5)
Put any eager, rabid, mutt by it, for the man said! I read it eats no quails until I intern right behind, daily.

The number “five” should clue treasure hunters that they should count something. If you look at the first character in the phrase, then count the next five characters, you’d find a hidden phrase:
“Permits required”



Life science faculty may stay by this stone,
But students have problems arriving from home.
If a student were to station near me,
They would be auto-gambling, they’d lose (and not for free).

“Life science faculty” refers to biology faculty. A stone they can stay by which students can’t is a blue parking spot. If a student would park there, they’d be gambling a parking ticket or towing fine.



Finish the rhyme:
South by southwest of the media hound (bark),
You might be wondering if this is a stroll in the dark.
Don’t feel ashamed,
You’ve played a great game,
Now it’s time to find a hued place to ____.

If you move south by southwest of the media hound, referring to the Huskie statue named “Media Hound” in front of Still Hall, you’re looking for a blue place to park.

The spot that hides the paperweight for the treasure hunt, in between two signs at Montgomery Hall’s blue parking lot entrance. The 2023 Northern Star Treasure Hunt ended on April 13 as two geology majors found the paperweight that morning. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star) (Mingda Wu)