Students clad in purple shirts gathered at the Main Mall Monday afternoon as music blared from speakers and campus mascot Hook ‘Em tossed T-shirts into the crowd.
Organization tables lined the mall’s perimeter while students milled around, participating in experiments and grabbing free pizza from a large stack of boxes. The activities were a part of Natural Sciences Council and the College of Natural Sciences’s kickoff to Natural Sciences Week and its opening event, Gone to Natural Sciences.
“Natural Sciences Week is basically just a week in celebration of natural sciences,” said Rhea Sachdeva, Natural Sciences Council student faculty chair. “Every day we have a different event, starting with Gone to Natural Sciences.”
From Oct. 14 to 17, the council and CNS host events celebrating natural sciences. The opening event gave students, particularly freshmen, opportunities to get acquainted with natural sciences and the University in general, neuroscience sophomore Sachdeva said.
“We want to welcome the class of 2023 into the College of Natural Sciences but also just showcase all the cool things that are happening in CNS,” council outreach coordinator Aashna Lal said.
Next to organizations such as the Astronomy Student Association and Health Occupations Students for America, Gone to Natural Sciences included more unconventional attractions like a Shetland ponies, a petting zoo and the student chapter of the American Chemical Society making vanilla ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
“We like to make (Natural Sciences) Week a diverse group of things,” biochemistry junior and council member Eena Lin said. “We want fun things … and we also want things on the professional side that are good resources for freshmen.”
Before 2017, the College of Natural Sciences held Gone to Natural Sciences as its own event separate from Natural Sciences Week, organized by the council. After Hurricane Harvey, CNS asked the council to hold Gone to Natural Sciences as part of the week’s events, Lal said.
“We kind of just engulfed it since then because (CNS) liked the way we hosted it,” Lal said. “I got to go to the first one that (the council) hosted.”
Computer science freshman Catherine Fang said she came to the event to learn more about the natural science community, even though many tables were related more to biology and chemistry than her own major.
“It’s still nice seeing different fields and their clubs,” Fang said. “(I) really like the spirit that our college embodies.”