WestFest: West Campus Science & Sustainability Festival



WestFest 2023, September 30, 2023!

Visit here for more information about the event.

WestFest 2022, October 15, 2022, from 10:00AM - 2:00PM!

WestFest 2021 is located here!

WestFest 2020 has gone virtual!

Join us for six days of exciting, family-friendly events from September 28 to October 3, 2020. The planning team is currently building the event calendar. Please check back for details in early September.



Join us online for a free public event showcasing sustainability and outreach at Ohio State! This event is open to people of all ages, from children to seniors. Participating departments and organizations include: Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center, Byrd Polar & Climate Research Center, Center for Applied Plant Sciences, Museum of Biological Diversity, Arne Sletteback Planetarium, Center for Automotive Research, Sea Grant/Stone Lab, Sustainability Institute, Orton Geological Museum, and more.


If you require an accommodation such as live captioning or ASL interpretation to participate in these events, please contact the planning team at westfest@osu.edu or 614-688-0080.


Monday, September 28

3:00 – 4:00 PM The Treemendous Benefits of Trees

  • We'll explore trees in our landscape and look at the difference between healthy and sick trees. We'll also take some simple measurements to figure out why trees are so beneficial for our homes, landscapes and forests with the National Tree Benefit Calculator at treebenefits.com. Grades 5+.
  • Sign up for the event here.

4:30 – 5:15 PM Mondrian Puzzles

  • Was Piet Mondrian thinking math when he created his famous paintings? Maybe not, but still his art pieces hide very interesting mathematics. Join us to learn about Mondrian numbers and become a painter using your math. For this workshop, you can either work on your computer, tablet or on paper, whichever you feel more comfortable with. If you prefer working on paper, please print at least two copies of this file and have some color pencils ready. Grades K+. 
  • Sign up for the event here. 

6:00 – 7:00 PM McMurdo Dry Valleys Tour

  • Join us for a virtual tour of the McMurdo Dry Valleys! Meet Byrd Center researcher Dr. Chris Gardner to learn about some of the research happening at the Center, then embark on a virtual expedition to the McMurdo Dry Valleys! Family-friendly.
  • Sign up for the event here.


Tuesday, September 29

2:00 – 3:00 PM Smart City Innovation: Autonomous Vehicles

  • Take advantage of the virtual Mobile Design Lab learning experience presented by Digital Flagship! We will dive into the Design Thinking process by prototyping an autonomous vehicle and ensuring it is accessible for individuals with physical disabilities. Family-friendly. 
  • Sign up for the event here.

4:00 – 4:30 PM Infection ID: Virtual Experiment for Kids!

  • Use your investigative skills to test and see if germs have infected Bobby Buckeye and his friends! This virtual experiment will help you to discover how different medicines treat different infections. Grades 5+. 
  • Sign up for the event here.

6:00 – 6:45 PM Fish of Ohio

  • Ohio is home to over 160 species of fish. Join us to learn more about the beautiful and unique animals. Watch a short video on the fish species of Ohio and afterwards chat with Marc Kibbey to learn more about the fish in our lakes and rivers. Great for adults.
  • Sign up for the event here.


Wednesday, September 30

3:00 – 3:30 PM Q&A with an Expert: Energy Conservation Measures at Ohio State

  • In 2017, ENGIE, a French utility company and Axium Infrastructure, an independent investment firm, formed Ohio State Energy Partners to execute the 50-year concession agreement with Ohio State to operate, maintain, and invest capital in the energy assets that serve the 490-building, 2,000-acre Columbus campus. Rob Cary, Program Manager with ENGIE, manages the Energy Conservation Program and will be diving into how ENGIE will improve campus energy efficiency by at least 25% before 2028. Grades 8+.
  • Sign up for the event here.

4:30 – 5:30 PM Day at the Museum

  • Come see the mammals, reptiles and birds from the tetrapods collection at the Museum of Biological Diversity. Chat with Dr. Tamaki Yuri, curator of the collection, about the place of museums in preserving biodiversity. Family-friendly.
  • Sign up for the event here.

6:00 – 7:00 PM Huascaran Glacier Tour

  • Join Dr. Emilie Beaudon for a virtual tour of highest mountain in Peru. Learn about some of the research happening at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, then embark on a virtual expedition to the Huascaran glacier! Family-friendly.
  • Sign up for the event here.

8:00 – 9:00 PM Monthly Movie Nights: Star Wars - Science Fiction vs Science Fact

  • An online panel discussion of Star Wars will be hosted by the Department of Astronomy, Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP), and others will be announced as we near the date, September 30 @8pm. Great for adults. 
  • Register for the event here.


Thursday, October 1

12:00 – 12:30 PM Protecting Our World: How Can You Help?

  • Protecting our environment and learning sustainable habits can be practiced at any age. Children ages 4-10 can join this program to learn why sustainable practices are important for all ages; why reduce/recycle/reuse is important; and how small efforts can help improve our environment. Children will be instructed on building a bird feeder from a recycled milk carton, so have a used milk carton, scissors, string and markers ready. Grades K+.
  • Sign up for the event here.

1:00 – 1:45 PM Design-Build-Test: What is it like to be a computer scientist?

  • Take a deeper look at how computer scientists use the design-build-test cycle to create, while creating their own paper prototype to change the world! Grades 8+. 
  • Sign up for the event here.

3:00 – 3:45 PM Anatomy of a Raccoon

  • Dr. Jonathan Calede will be sharing a dissection of a raccoon. Jonathan studies how muscles attach to bones to better understand how ancient rodents moved. Grades 8+.
  • Sign up for the event here.

7:30 – 8:30 PM Bats! with Dr. Gerry Carter

  • Join the Columbus Science pub for this month’s talk all about Bats! Dr. Gerry Carter studies the social life of bats. All donations go to support Shadowbox Live use the code "getnerdy" to change the donation amount. Great for adults.
  • Sign up for the event here.


Friday, October 2

2:00 - 2:45 Graph Paper Computer Science Programming

  • Join 4-H to create an image using graph paper. Using simple coding, create the code that will draw the image on virtual graph paper. By using code others can replicate the exact same picture. Hosted by Mark Light, 4-H Educator in Hardin County and Elliott Lawrence, 4-H Educator in Lucas County. Grades 8+.
  • Sign up for the event here.

4:00 – 4:30 PM Treasures of the Orton Geological Museum

  • The Orton Geological Museum contains many treasures, from dinosaur bones and mastodon teeth to beautiful minerals. This narrated slide program shows some of our best, including 380 million year old fossils you can find in your own back yard and beautiful crystals of amethyst from Brazil and pyrite from Peru. Family-friendly. 
  • Sign up for the event here.

5:00 – 5:45 PM Virtual tour: Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center

  • Arabidopsis thaliana is a common weed that has been transformed into an important model system for plant science research. Join staff from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC) for a virtual tour of our facilities at The Ohio State University. Get an up-close look at our greenhouse, laboratories, robots and more – all from the comfort of your house. Great for adults.
  • Sign up for the event here.


Saturday, October 3

10:00 – 10:30 AM Search for Secret Flowers with SER (Society for Ecological Restoration)

  • Join SER to search for secret flowers! Late-blooming flowering plants like like asters, goldenrods, and boneset are hiding in your yard and other places around Columbus. They look like "weeds" all summer, but in the fall, they reveal that they're secretly flowers that benefit people, pollinators, and wildlife. Follow along in your own yard or a local park, as we show off secret flowers at our west campus habitat restoration site and collect their seeds to re-plant in the spring. Great for adults.
  • Sign up for the event here.

11:00 – 11:45 AM Plant Propagation Workshop

  • Ever visit a friend's house and see a plant you'd love to have of your own? How on earth do I get that home without them noticing? Relax, we are here to help you get the plant you desire without sacrificing a friendship. During our video presentation, we will discuss and demonstrate the many common ways to propagate houseplants and annuals you can do right in your living room. Join us for a fun, hands-on plant presentation. Great for an adult audience.
  • Sign up for the event here.

12:00 – 12:45 PM Geometric Origami

  • Origami is the ancient art of paper folding and it is closely related to mathematics. Mathematics help origamists decide whether or not a design can be folded, but origami is also a great way of building mathematical objects such as polyhedra. Join us with your family to build some 3D stars. Because the more folding you do, the more stars you’ll be able to assemble, we recommend you join with your whole family and work together. If you want to get a head start, follow this tutorial and start folding some of these Sonobe units (but don’t worry if you don’t do it, we will go over it on the workshop).
  • Materials: For this workshop you will need at least 12 square pieces of paper, but more if you want to build more stars. We will use a total of 51 to build all the shapes. The size doesn’t matter, but all the squares need to be equal. The bigger your square paper, the bigger your stars will be. Consider also that it is easier to fold on bigger paper. Here’s how to cut a square out of a regular sheet of paper.
  • Sign up for the event here.

1:00 – 1:30 PM Kitchen science: DNA for dinner

  • What would you say if someone asked you if you eat DNA? Yes? No? I don’t know? Well, whether you are a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore – the answer is yes! DNA is found in all living things. So, whether you’re eating beans, bananas or bacon there is DNA in your dinner. Join the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center and the Center for Applied Plant Sciences for a demonstration of how to extract DNA from applesauce using common household items. Family-friendly.
  • Sign up for the event here.

2:00 – 3:00 PM Center for Automotive Research Student Motorsports Tour

  • Join us for a fun and educational tour of The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research's Student Motorsport Teams Garage. Featuring seven student motorsport teams, CAR's undergraduate & graduate students spend their "free time" designing, fabricating, and producing vehicles pointing to the future of safe, sustainable & forward-thinking engineering. For more information on our teams, please visit https://car.osu.edu/academics/motorsports-student-projects. Family-friendly.
  • Sign up for the event here.

Thank you to Ohio State Energy Partners and the Center for Applied Plant Sciences for sponsoring this year's event!

Ohio State Energy Partners logo