His colleagues call him the “fish wrangler.”
Dr. Steven Frye, the interdisciplinary studies director, just laughs about the title, but he admits being the one who enjoys catching the goldfish that hopefully become someone’s lifelong pal.
Frye uses a casting net to collect the fish from the drainage pond just outside his Southwest Hall office. In the past two weeks, Frye estimated he has collected 50 goldfish.
Frye said students in the department decided to give away fish to help reduce the population. Students receive a goldfish in a sealable plastic gallon bag.
No one knows how or why the fish arrived in the drainage pond but some students and faculty members believe it started as a prank. The Great Goldfish Giveaway turned into a tradition for the College of Interdisciplinary Studies Frye said.
“We do have a sneaking suspicion that it was a faculty or staff member that put them in the pond,” Jeannie Smith, Student Success Center director, said.
What they do know is the goldfish continue to multiply every year. At one point over the past two years, another professor counted about 430 goldfish, Frye said.
“It is astounding how many fish are in there,” he said.
Frye said faculty and students gave away 275 goldfish in the past four years. Faculty and staff now consider the goldfish their unofficial mascot.
The majority of faculty keep one in their office or home. Frye keeps five.
“The ones in this fish tank I kinda choose them for the unique look. They are just relaxing fish and kinda chill,” Frye said.
If the students don’t get along with their goldfish then Frye has a plan.
“If you and your fish breakup bring them back here and we will put them back in the pond,” Frye said.