The first week of fall classes at Caltech ended with a bounce. On Friday, September 30, TechFest returned to campus for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, welcoming students with an in-person block party on Beckman Mall.
Caltech undergraduate and graduate students got into the spirit via a series of inflatable games, including a life-sized foosball match in which human competitors stood in for the spinning soccer players. After dodging the soccer ball flying around the inflatable field, first-year student Ryan Leal said TechFest was a great way to connect.
"It's been so fun so far getting to meet a variety of different people from the Caltech community, not just undergraduates," he said.
Erica Crawford, director of student engagement in Caltech's Office of Residential Experience, served as carnival barker for the bungee basketball game, in which two players strapped to an elastic bungee cord tried to sprint to the far end of the course and dunk a basketball before the cord snapped them backward.
"We've had some interesting results here, but they're having fun, and that's what's important," she said. "I wasn't sure about being assigned this game at first, but it's working out for me, because it's hilarious."
Students poured into Beckman Mall for the games, the camaraderie, and, of course, the free food. TechFest carried on into the evening with celebratory fireworks after sunset, an outdoor screening of Thor: Love and Thunder, and a party to celebrate the end of rotation. Not a bad way to kick off a semester.