CLEMSON – Clemson’s second-ever Spring Fling took place on April 14, bringing alumni and Clemson fans to campus in a sea of orange.

Created by the Clemson Alumni Association in 2017, Spring Fling reunited alumni who participated in Greek organizations, intramural teams, sports teams and other student activities with their former classmates. The event was free and open to the public, and included live music, food trucks, tailgating and fun activities for the family, all before Clemson Football’s Spring Game kicked off at 2:30 p.m.

Part of the festivities was the “Be a Tiger” Field Day, a kid zone located outside of Littlejohn Coliseum dedicated to interactive, kid-friendly activities and demonstrations. The College of Science and the Campbell Museum of Natural History came prepared, captivating parents and kids with a variety of reptiles – snakes, chameleons, lizards, alligators and tortoises – as well as a tiger pelt and other preserved animals for display. As families walked through the tent, they stopped at each animal to learn about its feeding behaviors and natural habitat from student volunteers.

“Our goal today with the event is to show kids that snakes are not scary, that they’re part of our environment,” said Chris Parkinson, a professor of biological sciences. “We’re really trying to educate students about the natural environment and some snakes that we find here in the Upstate, so that they can identify these animals.”

Parkinson brought with him a copperhead and a timber rattlesnake, two venomous snake species that are commonly found in the Upstate and near the coast, respectively. The lizards at the event, such as a Northern curly-tailed lizard and a prairie skink, were brought by Kelly Diamond, a graduate student in biological sciences.

President Clements made an appearance at Spring Fling.

President Clements made an appearance at Spring Fling.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Diamond spoke with the kids about “all of these really cool lizards, and how different adaptations allow them to live in different environments.”

The tent made for a learning experience that 9-year old Victoria Ridley of North Chesterfield, Virginia, said “was fun to be around.”

The Spring Fling party continued across the way at the upper intramural field, where food, music and games were happening tailgate-style. Five food trucks were on site next to a live stage with entertainment provided by the Jake Bartley Band.

Organizations such as the Brooks Center for Performing Arts, the Student Alumni Council and the Blue Key Honor Society held spots on the intramural fields, where they welcomed alumni and donors and updated them on new developments and endeavors within their organizations.

The College of Science and “Tigers on Call” shared a tent in the tailgate area, which was manned by Chad Richardson, director of health professions advising within the College. Richardson and student volunteers were poised to give information about the College of Science and “Tigers on Call,” a networking organization that connects Clemson alumni in healthcare with current Clemson students who are interested in pursuing the same health professions.

The College of Science tent had a variety of animals on display.

The College of Science tent had a variety of animals on display.
Image Credit: College of Science

Dr. Sam Stone, a Clemson ’76 alumnus, went on to become a family medicine doctor in Chester, South Carolina. He is proudly involved with “Tigers on Call,” which he says is an honor and privilege.

“I’ve worked with students in my office for 20-something years, and I try to tell them how I got to where I am, how to tailor some of their courses, and tell them to just enjoy the ride,” Stone said.

Professors from the department of physics and astronomy were also present to entertain attendees by demonstrating the work of a pressure canon and an electromagnetic can crusher.

“With a pressure canon, we’re evacuating air from inside the tube. By evacuating that air from the inside, we have somewhat of a vacuum. Then, when we punch a hole, all the air from outside the tube is going to rush inside, and it’s going to propel a ping pong ball down the length of the tube. Fortunately, we are able to launch it through two soda cans, through and through,” said Amy Pope, a senior lecturer in physics and astronomy.

12-year old Jax Cobb from Greenville, South Carolina, especially enjoyed the pressure can demonstrated by Pope.

“Clemson’s Science display had an awesome pressure cannon. The staff took extra time with me to discuss the science behind the pressure to drive a ping pong ball through a soda can,” Cobb said. “My father and I really enjoyed all they had to offer at the spring game.”

Photos from the event can be found on the University’s Flicker page or on the College of Science’s Facebook page.

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