Thursday, April 18th was Velociraptor Awareness Day celebrated by RAH in the Chamberlain Student Center. -Assistant Features Editor/Kalie VanDewater

Rowan After Hours hosted its first National Velociraptor Awareness Day in the Chamberlain Student Center on Thursday night.

The event was planned by RAH graduate coordinator Will McMillan, who wanted to give students something fun and interesting to do. 

“I was looking up fun holidays that we could base an event around and there’s a website…that gives you the top 15 holidays for every single day, and [National Velociraptor Awareness Day] was the one for April 18 and I was like, ‘That sounds like a heck of a good time,’” McMillan said.

One of the attractions at the event was a display presented by staff members from the Edelman Fossil Park in Sewell. Since the fossil park is located at a former ancient marine environment, the display included fossils of turtle shells, snail shells and shark teeth.

The craft station allowed students to create their own fossils. Attendees mixed together water, flour and salt to make a clay-like substance. This clay was used to create fun underwater scenes. Ferns and seashells, plastic fish and plastic spiders were provided for making imprints in the modeling dough.

National Velociraptor Awareness Day held in the Student Center. -Assistant Features Editor/Kalie VanDewater

In the Student Center Pit, students were able to see, pet and even hold several types of reptiles. These reptiles were provided by Herps Alive, a reptile rescue based in Cleveland, Ohio that holds educational programs for students across the country.

Keith Gisser, who began the Herps Alive Foundation to help reptiles get the care they need, said that teaching people is one of the main goals of the organization.

“It’s difficult at a night program like this to do as much education as we like to do, but we’re still trying to just get everybody to understand the importance of these animals and the environment, and that’s probably the most important thing we do,” Gisser said.

He also said that most of the reptiles in the care of Herps Alive were surrendered, meaning that their previous owners couldn’t care for them properly or hadn’t realized how much work was needed to care for the animals. 

Some of the reptiles that Herps Alive had available for attendees were tortoises, skinks, a bearded dragon, a baby alligator and several different types of snakes.

Vanessa Landaverde, a senior English education student, said she enjoyed spending time with all the different reptiles because she has owned several herself, including a ball python she currently has at home, as well as a bearded dragon.

“It’s really nice and it’s really cool because they’re such interesting creatures,” Landaverde said about the reptiles. “They’re all different but they’re all so friendly.”

The midnight food bar included barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Everyone who attended RAH’s first National Velociraptor Awareness Day event enjoyed all the fun experiences offered and wanted to attend another event like it.

“I’m a little sad it’s my last semester, because if this [event] happened more, I’d definitely come more,” Landaverde said.

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