April 9, 2001

Vet School Open House Entertains Families

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Adults, students and children gathered this Saturday to have fun and explore various aspects of veterinary medicine at Cornell’s annual College of Veterinary Medicine Open House, which included an array of exhibits and lectures.

In the past, the open house has been mainly intended to give locals an insight into the workings of the vet school, and this year was no exception.

“It is a chance for students to interact with the community, and to show the community what the vet school is all about,” said Lynda Cornelison grad, co-chair of the event.

This year, in light of diseases such as mad cow, foot and mouth, and the west Nile virus surfacing in the media, a lecture series was added on these topics.

“A big goal of ours this year was to educate people, that was why we added the lecture series,” said Joanne Johnson grad, co-chair of the event.

Aside from the lectures, the format of the open house was consistent with that of previous years. Attendees followed arrows through the vet school, stopping at exhibits along the way.

Many exhibits were geared toward children, such as the traditional “dress as a surgeon” room, where children had the opportunity to take pictures in scrubs, operating on stuffed animals. Another highlight for kids was the petting zoo, giving them a close-up look at animals they may not have access to on a daily basis, such as sheep, cows, and even a camel.

In one room, vet students answered questions about responsible pet ownership, also offering pamphlets on topics involving pet care.

“We are trying to talk to people about fundamental things to ensure quality of life for pets,” said Vanessa Olenich grad, one of the students at the booth. Olenich later said that a main goal of the booth was to encourage attendees to spay and neuter pets.

Also represented at the open house were such organizations as the Ithaca S.P.C.A. and the Pet Loss Support Hotline, intended to comfort those grieving the loss of a pet.

Another such organization was the Cornell Companions program, which aims to “bring the therapeutic effects of animals” to people in the community, according to a pamphlet.

“It seemed really positive,” said Johnson. “We think that there were around 7,000 people … it was a steady flow all day,” she added.

Archived article by Stacy Williams