Picnic, visit, be amazed by science at all-campus get-together

A picnic, fun with friends and colleagues, entertainment—what better way to begin the new academic year than at the All-Campus Picnic and Campus Fest this Friday (Sept. 5). Also that day, see some exciting demonstrations of science phenomena at Xtreme Degrees.

The annual free picnic and fest, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Union Oval and University Hall Lawn, is open to faculty, staff and students.

This year’s Xtreme Degrees event promises to be even bigger and better than last year’s premiere. Hosted by the Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education: Opportunities for Success (COSMOS), it includes Xtreme Fluids, Xtreme Antibodies, Xtreme Aviation, Xtreme Discoveries, Xtreme Impact, Xtreme Sudoku, Xtreme Reptiles, Xtreme Marine Life and, in collaboration with COSI-Toledo, Xtreme Physical Science.

The interactive events are designed to spark interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors/minors and careers. But there is something for everyone, even for those students who would not be likely to choose a STEM major, according to Julie Nurnberger-Haag, associate director of COSMOS. Every event is designed to teach students a big concept within science or mathematics. Information about the science or math behind the event will be available on a poster and a card that students can take with them. These posters and cards also spotlight related majors and careers.

Additional flyers are available to inform students about introductory classes that might get them hooked on STEM as well as minors and majors. For those already interested in STEM, the flyers provide more information about minors/majors, careers and ways to get more involved through volunteer opportunities or undergraduate research.

Xtreme Degrees 2008 is a collaboration among COSMOS and the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development, and Technology, along with the School of Teaching and Learning, the departments of biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics and statistics, physics and astronomy, psychology, and public and allied health, with help from facilities services.

Last year at Xtreme Degrees, faculty had fun serving as announcers, running events and walking around with the non-Newtonian fluid as they talked with students. If you are an advisor or STEM faculty and would like the chance to interact with students at this year’s event, contact Nurnberger-Haag at

September 2, 2008