The following reflection is by Rockhurst sophomore Chase Auman:
Allowing students to participate in out of the ordinary activities is one of many things that makes Rockhurst such a special school. That’s why when I came across the opportunity to be involved in marine biology my freshman year, I was ecstatic. I was able to really become involved with the scientific community at Rockhurst, and could use my preexisting knowledge of marine biology to grow and improve the understanding of the science in my school. I feel that I helped the saltwater reef tank grow and become more integrated into the community, and learned while doing it.
Taking care of the tank helped me to understand the togetherness and progress-driven mission of Rockhurst. It showed that even the teachers wanted to know more, and to do more. But while taking care of the tank, I learned more. I developed a better understanding of water quality tests, and of taking care of larger tanks in general.
However, taking care of the tank did eat up a lot of my free time. It is and was a commitment, but I loved doing it. I could expect for every activity period to be in the lab, along with flex time, and even some of my free periods. But because of this sacrifice of time, the reef is now beyond sustainable and ready for even more improvement. As the tank was growing, so was the knowledge of it around the school. Everyone in the lab was asking about it, and wanted to know more. It was a rewarding experience, and I was happy to be a part of it.
But still, I was desiring for more people to learn about this unique opportunity we have, and to become connected with it. It was somewhat disappointing to me that such a beautiful tank was in a secluded area for few to see. So recently, I had the idea to bring in another fish tank, but this time a fish only for the atrium. This tank, rather than being meant for experiments, is intended to be for show and observation. The tank will draw people into our unique science program, and allow those who are willing willing to be a part of a more in-depth marine biology program.
So, it seemed natural for this to become a club. Making a marine biology club would not only create a way for students to learn about marine biology, but would bring new recognition to the tanks and how they are cared for. By creating a marine biology club, there would now be a system to taking care of the two fishtanks, and an organized way for students to experience firsthand fish tank care and to learn about the hobby and science behind it. The club could quite possibly give way to a new class, and would, once again, allow for students to become fully integrated in the activity.
Overall, the whole experience of caring for the fish tank and moving towards starting a new club has been a powerful one. I have become more responsible, and learned more about my passion, marine biology. Now, from what I have learned, I hope to educate more people on this amazing science, and to move forward in creating a new recognition of marine biology in the Rockhurst community.