WUSTL’s Thurtene organizers hold events for students, neighbors, kids

Members of the Beta Theta Pi/Chi Omega group prepare their Thurtene Carnival projects in April 2012. (Credit: Jerry Naunheim Jr. )

As students from Washington University in St. Louis gear up for the annual Thurtene Carnival, organizers plan some community events to help bring neighbors together to share in the fun.

This weekend, the Thurtene Junior Honorary will host a neighborhood block party and barbecue along with basketball clinics for area youth and a 3-on-3 tournament.

There also are several events this week for WUSTL students to learn more about Thurtene and get involved, including dine-out nights at area restaurants and a happy hour at Bowles Plaza on the Danforth Campus.

The goal of the weekend activities is to bridge the gap between WUSTL and its surrounding neighbors along with providing fun-filled events for the entire St. Louis community, explained Thurtene public relations co-chair Dara Baker, a junior majoring in psychology in Arts & Sciences.

These events will help benefit and promote the local charity that Thurtene is partnering with this year, Provident. Provident, one of the region’s oldest family service nonprofit agencies, provides a number of community programs, from after-school activities and character building for youth to a suicide prevention and crisis hotline.

Provident’s board of directors includes several WUSTL faculty or administration members. For example, its current chair is Stuart I. Greenbaum, former dean of the Olin Business School.

The Thurtene carnival will be on WUSTL’s campus, on Brookings Drive, from April 19-21. At the carnival, children and adults can check out the elaborate facades that student groups have spent months planning, constructing and decorating. Inside, visitors can enjoy family-friendly plays. More than 50 WUSTL student organizations are involved.

This year, the carnival’s overall theme is “Stay Enchanted,” though several facades’ subjects are a closely guarded secret. Past displays have included, for example, an Egyptian pyramid and a 1950s diner.

The carnival will boast typical staples such as funnel cakes, rides and games.

Thurtene is the oldest and largest student-run carnival in the nation, dating back to 1907, and is led by 13 juniors chosen for the honorary society based on their leadership, character and campus involvement.

Schedule details:

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21: Student happy hour sponsored by Thurtene, Bowles Plaza

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 22: Meet the Charity, McMillan Cafe

1 – 3 p.m. Saturday, March 23: Block party for area residents and WUSTL community, corner of Melville Avenue and Kingsbury Boulevard

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, March 24: Hoops Day. Thurtene will hold basketball clinics for students and area youth, as well as a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, Athletic Complex.

For more information or to sign up for the tournament, visit www.thurtene.org.