The boys are back in town: 1st Llamapalooza to happen Friday on Memorial Glade

Tanay Nandgaonkar, ASUC senator and sophomore, feeds a carrot to a llama with his mouth. Llamas were on campus to advertise “Questival,” a 24-hour race in which teams compete for trips, gear and more.
Michael Drummond/Senior Staff
Tanay Nandgaonkar, ASUC senator and sophomore, feeds a carrot to a llama with his mouth. Llamas were on campus to advertise “Questival,” a 24-hour race in which teams compete for trips, gear and more.

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With finals just around the corner, the llamas are making a long-awaited reappearance Friday on Memorial Glade from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the first campus-hosted “Llamapalooza” event.

Llamas are brought to the glade every semester by the ASUC Office of the Academic Affairs Vice President, or AAVP, to help students de-stress during finals. But instead of the usual three, there will be six llamas on the glade this year, and an obstacle course that students can lead the llamas through, according to event coordinator Ana Claire Mancia.

According to Geo Caldwell, who runs Llamas of Circle Home — where the llamas hail from — the ungulates enjoy interacting with people and meeting students, but that it is a different experience for each llama depending on “how they view life and people.”

“It’s a quick shot of love and energy that you get when you interact with llamas,” Caldwell said. “When you feel love, your body goes through healthy changes and I think that helps students.”

Llamapalooza has partnered with Children of the Andes, a student-run summer abroad volunteer program in the town of San Pedro de Cajas. The program will be providing musical entertainment with a Peruvian pan flute player and selling Peruvian crafts at the event to benefit public health workshops and education outreach programs conducted in the town, according to the Facebook event.  

As department head of events and projects in the AAVP office, Mancia has been planning Llamapalooza for the last four semesters.

“I noticed how much UC Berkeley students love and connect with the llamas,” Mancia said. “It has become such an important tradition on campus so we wanted to make it bigger to reach as many students as possible.”

Though the llamas have been visiting campus during finals for four years, students are looking forward to this larger event.

“This can be a stressful place during finals and it’s easy for students to forget how to stay grounded,” Mancia said. “The llamas remind them of what’s important and that this campus is a wonderful place.”

Contact Amanda Bradford at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.