An Austin College student in the science lab is nothing unusual; students being in the lab on Saturday afternoon — with elementary school students alongside them — is a bit out of the ordinary.

An Austin College student in the science lab is nothing unusual; students being in the lab on Saturday afternoon — with elementary school students alongside them — is a bit out of the ordinary.


But from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday that is exactly the plan. Representatives of the Austin College Service Station, a student organization dedicated to community involvement, will host children in grades kindergarten through eighth from the Sherman, Denison, and surrounding areas for ‘Roo Bound, a free Saturday program offering themed activities that promote fun through hands-on learning.


The focus of October ‘Roo Bound is "Spooky Science." With activities developed by Austin College’s Chemical Society, Pre-Med Society, KangaRAAS Dance Organization and the Service Station, children will gear up for Halloween by doing kid-friendly science in Austin College’s new IDEA Center, a state-of-the-art, 103,000-square-foot science facility.


As the name suggests, ‘Roo Bound is intended to be more than a unique Saturday spent on the Austin College campus. "It’s meant to make college seem like more of a possibility, particularly for those who will be the first in their families to pursue college," said Savanah Low, a member of the Service Station Board who is working with other students, faculty, and staff to ensure that ‘Roo Bound is a success.


‘Roo Bound will expose children to college culture in a safe, fun environment and will help paint a picture of the college experience by allowing the children to explore the Austin College campus with current students. Children will receive "passports" that will be stamped as they visit various facilities around the campus, including classrooms, labs and the dining hall, where they’ll receive a free buffet lunch.


"The one thing that excites me the most is the hands-on aspect," said Dr. Julia Shahid, associate professor of education. "It’s like a field trip: hands-on, minds-on." The youthful instructors of ‘Roo Bound – Austin College students – will bring an enthusiasm that cannot be matched, she said.


"To have the children interact with our students is just so powerful," Shahid said. ‘Roo Bound also offers a learning experience for Austin College students. "This will provide the opportunity for our students to teach and to see the joy of teaching," Shahid said.


"Spooky Science" will be the first ’Roo Bound program. Organizers plan to host themed Saturday events once per month throughout the academic year. Each event will be coordinated by the Service Station in conjunction with Austin College student organizations.


Austin College invites students in to attend "Spooky Science." No registration is required. Interested children are simply invited to arrive at Zauk Circle, 900 N. Grand Ave., at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 19. Call the Service Station at 903-813-2333 for more information.