38th Annual Xtreme Rat Challenge

By: Kayla Bremer

The halls at Nebraska Wesleyan University were full of rats today but it was a welcome sight!

No the university does not have a rodent problem…Thursday was the 38th annual Xtreme Rat Challenge.  Students raced their rats and sent them through obstacle courses as part of a semester long assignment.

Students in a psychology course have spent the fall training their rats to jump over hurdles, rope climb, tightrope walk and even push soccer balls into a goal.

“It's not just more fun but you learn so much more when you're actually applying the principles to something hands on you know?” Senior Mandalyn Kautz said.  “It's been great.”

“It takes a lot of patience but it's definitely rewarding and it's really fun,” added Sophomore Seth Wiese.  “It's a lot of time you know, you spend about an hour to two hours in the lab each day.”

The purpose of the class is to learn about the power of positive reinforcement.  The students trained their rats by using clickers and bells, and rewarding the rodents with treats.

The winning rats were given gold medals and treats while the winning students were rewarded with a good grade on a part of their final exam.