This past Friday, the Leung Gallery hosted an event filled with free goldfish, of the cracker and the alive species. Attending students received their own tank to decorate, a gilled pet, a food packet, and a “Caring for your fish!” information slip. Finding Nemo was screened in the background, which is pretty ironic, considering the plot involves a clownfish who gets abducted from his family in the ocean, and then proceeds to freak the f**k out.
As someone who has seen the movie Blackfish, I was pretty concerned about animal safety. As someone who appreciates arts and crafts, I was intrigued. According to the event coordinators, this is an event back by popular demand; last year they actually ran out of fish. For 2015, they stocked up with 300 tanks, and approximately 300 fish.
How did the Campus Center choose the lucky genus? Well, they initially called PetCo to describe the event and circumstances, and the store sold them what was appropriate: feeder fish, who are bred to satiate the appetite of larger, cooler fish. The folks at the Leung Gallery phrased the giveaway as “a second chance at life.”
The coordinators did admit that there were some safety concerns about the event. I queried as to whether these concerns were about drunk/high students sticking their heads in the tanks and drowning. The answer was no.
Despite activist qualms, a ton of prospective ‘parents’ lined up. I lingered around to interview some students about their new found responsibilities…and to eat free food. Here are some of the responses I recorded:
Are you excited about your fish?
“Generally, I think this is a really bad idea, but I really want a fish in my life right now, and I know where I’ll be over the summer… It will get taken care of.” — Paige Stoermer ’16
“I’m a senior, and I’m ready to have another being. I want this fish. I f**king love fish. You can quote me on that.” — Marguerite Joutz ’15
“I’m trying to up my taking care of things game. Last year I had a succulent.” — Emily Schell ’16
How are you going to design your tank?
“My roommate and I have a color scheme of red, blue, and purple, so I’m going to stick to that.” — Nicolina Mao ’18
“It’s probably going to be gray, some green rocks, and a fish.” — Jackie Vu ’17
What did you name your fish?
“It’s Rory — we looked up gender neutral names and Gilmore Girls.” — Emely Vargas ’18
A lot of people tried to turn the tables on my wicked interrogation skills, and ask me if I was receiving a fish. I did not even consider taking one home, because I’m not ready for that stage in my life,
the stage where I imprison a creature in a miniscule tank until it dies.
Also, I dropped my bowl of free Swedish fish on the floor, which seemed like a bad omen.
Images via David Deckey ’15, and Caitlin Dorman ’16.