Ormsby Zoo Days continued its time-honored tradition of celebrating things Lawrentians seem to love most: spring, student organizations and music. The annual event on the lawn in front of Ormsby and Main Hall Green was a chance to find reprieve from the stress of academics, enjoy the warm weather and good, old-fashioned fun.
Zoo Days incorporated a variety of lawn games, colorful “blow-up” activities, such as the bouncy slide and the crowd-favorite, sumo wrestling fight. There was also live music and fair food to enjoy.
The event managed to marry the frivolity of a spring carnival with the love for social causes that Lawrence students have. For example, V-Day, an organization advocating the end of the assault against women, allowed students to create their own colorful posters with anti-rape and assault slogans. Yet, at the same time, students were able to indulge in simple pleasures like cotton candy and bean bag tosses.
Ormsby’s event has been around long enough to be a beloved tradition. While there doesn’t seem to be a concrete date of origin, it has been said that the event died out during the 1980s and made its return in 1999. Now, it shows no sign of disappearing.
Ormsby Residence Hall Director and Leadership Development Coordinator Christina Martinez ’06 attributed the longevity and success of the event to the students and organizations who take on the responsibility of organizing the event.
Commented Martinez, “[Zoo Days] continues to exist only because there continues to be students interested in contributing and participating. The great majority of Zoo Days is student group participation.”
Like many Lawrence events, different student organizations took it as an opportunity to table or raise money for their various causes. Some took only cash, which sometimes limited the availability of donations as many students don’t usually carry cash with them.
Several of these student groups even held their own sub-events as part of Zoo Days. The morning hours saw students stretching outside Warch in preparation for GlobeMed’s 5k Fun(d) Run.
On the Main Hall Green, a shanty town emerged as Habitat for Humanity had an ongoing ‘Shack-a-thon’ to raise awareness of the conditions of homeless-living. Groups used discarded materials to creatively make their own shelter.
Habitat member and sophomore Emily McLane saw Shack-a-Thon as the embodiment of the fun-social activism hybrid.
Said McLane: “”I think it was a really good learning experience about [the conditions] some people have to live through every day but it was also a really fun social event. Some groups even stayed in their shacks overnight.” She added, “Hopefully there will be even more participation next year.”
Amnesty International also held “Jamnesty,” a festival of student bands that added a lively soundtrack to the event and showcased talented musicians that went into the evening.
Even though this year didn’t see the usual catered picnic by Bon App**e**tit, a traditional focal point to the event, people still came and stayed at the event.
It attracted student and passers-by alike, and even a couple of faculty and their families could be spotted at the event. This seemed to exhibit that the event pleased all parties with its approachable, family-friendly environment, something which is not always the case with college-age events.
Sophomore Lindsay Browne, a resident of Ormsby, who was getting her face painted as a pirate, reflected on the lightness of the events: “I really enjoyed just making a bracelet… oh, and watching the Sumo-wrestling.”