Picnic on the Plaza: LAS students investigate clubs at welcome picnic


Meredith Kestel/Iowa State Daily

Students tried marshmallows frozen by liquid nitrogen at the Picnic on the Plaza presented by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in front of Catt Hall on Sept. 8.

Kassi Manternach

Cardinal and gold balloons flew high as students enjoyed free pizza, pop, ice cream and music on the Catt Hall plaza Sept. 8.

The second annual Picnic on the Plaza — as the event is known — welcomes the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students back to school and encourages them to get involved in some of the clubs within the college.

The history, physics, psychology and meteorology clubs — among others — each had booths to give students a chance to interact with club representatives. Each club showcased a different game or activity.

The Physics Club showcased science by pouring marshmallows into liquid nitrogen. The marshmallows transformed into frozen treats under a cloud of mist. Some students said their mouths were still cold 15 minutes after eating the treat.

The History Club had a “Jeopardy!” quiz game where students could win candy.

“[The picnic] gives exposure to students in our major but also students who are not in their major and may want to join the club,” said Melissa Grunder, member of the History Club. 

At the picnic, each person was given a stamp card. Students received a stamp at every booth they visited after answering a trivia question about the club. After visiting all the clubs and spelling “D-I-S-C-O-V-E-R” on their card, students could turn it in for a drawing to win a gift card to the University Book Store.

Students could also snap a selfie at a photo booth and tweet it to @DiscoverLAS and tag it with #LAScollege for an extra chance to win a gift card. 

Students tallied what they study on a board listing the 39 majors offered in the LAS college. The college has almost 70 majors, minors or professional programs and has the second largest major at Iowa State, which is open option. 

LAS faculty, staff and student ambassadors helped at the picnic by setting up and serving pizza and ice cream.

“This is a great opportunity for students and we had a great turnout last year,” said Laura Wille, LAS event coordinator. 

Amidst the pizza and ice cream, Beate Schmittmann, dean of the college, addressed the students and welcomed them back to school, wishing them a successful year. She also introduced a singing group and members of the drum line who gave a quick performance for the students.

Schmittmann said the idea of the picnic was to “alert the campus about the LAS college.” She also wanted to “give students a chance to showcase their clubs.”

Morgan Walz, open option freshman, said the picnic made her excited for the year ahead.

“[The picnic] made joining the LAS college feel more like a community,” said Anna Olson, freshman in psychology.

Wille said she hopes to build a tradition. 

“I hope to continue the picnic in years ahead,” Wille said.