Local Elementary Schools Visit Campus for STEM Fair
On February 10, three buses of energetic youngsters from Longfellow, Garfield and Whitman Elementary Schools headed to Cataldo Hall on Gonzaga’s campus to participate in the Center for Community Engagement’s (CCE) STEM Fair.
The fair featured booths from such partnering organizations as West Valley Outdoor Learning Center, the Lands Council, GU’s Office of Sustainability, American Society of Engineering Management, American Society of Civil Engineers and GU’s Climate Center. Each featured interactive activities for the youth to get hands-on experience in science.
Fresh from a Friday school day, the kids were excited to be on Gonzaga’s campus. They were engaged in the activities, asking questions and participating with enthusiasm as they were shown how to identify an animal and what it eats based on its skull, learned how beaver dams impact the environment, observed how to organize waste effectively, dug their hands into a river simulation, participated in a friendly competition to see who could build the best foundation out of index cards and more.
Gonzaga’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) brings neighborhood youth to campus each week from partner elementary schools for mentoring and educational activities.
For Kjersten Langager, CCE Youth Programs AmeriCorps Member, it is important to offer youth a variety of opportunities to be on campus.
“We want to be able to have kids see where their mentors are coming from,” Langager said. “We also thought it would be good for them to be able to visit – and see themselves – on a college campus.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCE STEM fair was a beloved annual tradition. February’s visit marked the first time the program has been held in-person since 2019. Langager hopes that the return of the science fair will continue to strengthen Gonzaga’s connections with neighborhood youth and families.