It’s not that the food at Wellesley College is bad, but some students will be sustaining themselves this Thursday mainly by downing potatoes and water in the name of raising awareness about human space exploration and STEM education. Inspiration for the potato diet comes courtesy of the hit book and movie, The Martian, in which an astronaut gets stranded on Mars.
The 24-hour Give to Mars Day Potato Challenge is being spearheaded by Abby Harrison, a Wellesley College first-year student whose goal is to be the first astronaut to Mars (See: “Mars astronaut hopeful stationed on Planet Wellesley for now“). Anyone can join the event, as it will be coordinated online, including through social media (#PotatoChallenge and #GTMD2015). Participants can earn additional rations, as well as prizes, throughout the day. Check out the rules here.
The event is also designed to raise $100,000 for The Mars Generation nonprofit that Harrison started. The crowdfunding campaign associated with the Potato Challenge will support a Space Camp Scholarship Program and Student Space Ambassador program. The fundraising effort is actually a STEM-y twist on Give to the Max Day, a community giving day in Minnesota, the state from which Harrison hails.