Hundreds of students gathered to cheer on President Mung Chiang as he completed the Purdue Day of Giving relay run at Memorial Mall.

Confetti flew through the air as he crossed the finish line and students rushed toward him to give high-fives and take selfies.

The race followed a full day of celebrations, including the Pet-a-Pup event fit with labs and beagles. The College of Engineering hosted a paper airplane, tower-building and egg drop competition.

The conclusion of the relay race marked the start of what Chiang called the “student celebration” portion of Purdue Day of Giving.

Among the crowd was William Russell, a member of the Purdue Space Program, who ran with a rocket they launched a couple weeks ago.

Om Patel, a fellow PSP member, ran ahead of Russell to take photos. Patel said he had a lot of fun trying to get support from donors, alumni, friends and family.

“A lot of what we do goes directly into helping students get experience,” he said. “Pretty much every dollar goes straight into making rockets.”

Students stood in lines to get pizza and fresh lemonade while others got free T-shirts. There were photo ops all across the lawn, from a Purdue Pete statue to the classic “Hail Purdue” sign.

The other half of the lawn, called “Giant Adventures,” featured an inflatable corn maze, Zorb Wars and a Stunt Jump.

The Stunt Jump was a popular attraction, allowing people to free fall onto an inflatable mat from a platform 20-feet in the air.

Zainab Imran, a doctoral candidate in the College of Engineering, said it was one of the scariest things she’s ever done.

“I’ve jumped off a mountain,” she said with a laugh, “but that was scarier.”

First-year engineering student Devon Christen said she came to the event because she got an email offering free food, and she was heading to the Stunt Jump next.

Her friend Sophia Witters said she was really excited to see everyone out on campus. “I’m so stressed and this is a good break.”

Witters said she gets to enjoy the benefits right now, so it makes sense to give back to Purdue when she graduates.

Christen agreed, saying Giving Day was a great opportunity to partner with alumni and other donors to improve the university.

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