By Ariel Steinsaltz
If you walked past Green Lawn on your way to or from class on Friday, Sept. 15, you might have come across some adorable farm animals padding around their cages. The cute and fluffy animals were all part of the College Union Board’s “Zooner,” the petting zoo part of its Nooner series of events that take place during the middle of the day.
There were a variety of animals present — including chickens, crescent ducks, goats, deer, a Scottish Highland calf and a camel. Those who stopped by the parked truck could even pet a dog that was sitting by the window.
Charis Matey is the owner and operator at Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo, the company that provided the animals. According to Matey, the calf, Cooper, is only five months old. The deers’ names were Taffy and Truffles. The tortoise, named Dozer, is a 12-year-old African Sulcata tortoise. The camel, named Percy, is four years old.
“It’s a very popular event,” said Willem Kline, a sophomore communications major who helped organize the program. “People love animals. This event has happened every year for the past three years, and that the purpose is to have something fun for students to do. The timing, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., is so that people can stop by between classes.”
Rachel Reedy, a freshman psychology major, said she and her friends had to stop themselves from giving into the temptation of stealing the animals, adding, “(My friends and I) already picked out the goat we want, named it Barry.”
When asked if the event was a good way to destress from classes, she said, “Heck yeah. I love animals so much. It’s making me so happy.”
She wasn’t alone. Kelly Ganning, a junior graphic design major, said, “I think having all the animals around is a great way to destress after coming back to school. I like the bunnies the best and the ducks were really cool, too.”
Seana Cleary, a freshman nursing major, was glad she came across the event on her walk through campus.
“I saw a sign, and I love animals, so I came,” Cleary said.
Clearly also loved “the fact that there’s food so you can feed them.”
The petting zoo wasn’t the reason for the huge crowd –– there was also a raffle for a large stuffed animal giraffe. It is the first raffle to be done at a Zooner event, according to the CUB members running the raffle. Many people entered to win the giraffe, including Chloe Yelle, a senior urban education and English double major.
“I need more stuffed animals in my room,” Yelle said. “Don’t have a large giraffe yet, so I think it would be a good addition. And it’s adorable.”
In addition to the petting zoo and the raffle, attendees could try to ride a mechanical bull. This was no easy task, and several students struggled to get onto the bull.
Some students did rather well, such as Zachary Russell, a freshman mechanical engineering major, who lasted an impressive 56 seconds on the bull.
“It was a tough one, it took a lot of effort, but in the end, it got me,” Russell said. “It was a good run, though.”