Pet Rock Pageant Aimed to Provide Destress Outlet for Students


Jusolyn Flower

Pet rocks made at Kai Brown’s community builder in Eagle Hall, Dec. 2, 2022.

Jusolyn Flower, Staff Writer

FGCU students attended the Inaugural Pet Rock Pageant on Dec. 2. Student-run functions are constantly happening across the FGCU campus to increase engagement and build relationships. In wake of recent events, such as Hurricane Ian recovery, many students are searching for light-hearted activities as a temporary distraction from the heaviness they may be experiencing.

The Pet Rock Pageant was held and organized by Kai Brown (who uses they/them pronouns), a resident assistant in Eagle Hall in South Village. Brown said they planned it as their community builder, hoping to give students a fun event that would ease the stress of final exams.

They held a pet rock decorating event last year called, “Don’t Take Your Pet Rock for Granite.” “I think a lot of people liked making pet rocks, but I wanted to amplify it this time,” Brown said. 

Participants were allowed to choose their own pet rocks and decorate them with craft materials including googly eyes, hot glue, pipe cleaners, felt, and pom-poms. During presentations, each person was required to give their pet rock a name, a talent, and a world issue.

Brown said they wanted to integrate self-reflection and intersecting identities in this competition. Each pet rock would use their given talents to create a solution to a problem we are currently facing such as climate change, fast fashion, or world hunger.

Once everyone had presented their pet rock, people were then able to vote for who they thought should win the pageant, basing their judgments on the three criteria.

For Angeline Muzzicato, a sophomore at FGCU, this was the first school function she had ever attended. She explained how she only knew one other person at the event and felt a little awkward and intimidated at first. That feeling quickly faded after meeting Brown and the other participants.

Sophomore Elise Kelley with her pet rock at the Pet Rock Pageant in Eagle Hall, Dec. 2, 2022.

“It was such a small space with so few people that I felt comfortable being there. Everyone was getting excited about such a simple activity that it made me feel kind of excited, too,” Muzzicato said.

She said she never would have expected to participate in a pet rock competition among other college students, but it was cool to see everyone take a silly event so seriously.

“It felt like a quick break from life. This was held right before our last two weeks of the semester, so it was nice to do something arts-and-crafts-wise, to get my mind off school,” Muzzicato said.

Brown said the event was a success and hopes for more students to attend next year.

“My only expectation ever is that everyone has fun,” Brown said.