Opinion | University squirrels have a nutty history


Sydney Laput

A squirrel sits on the branch of a tree outside of the Chemistry Annex on Wednesday. Senior columnist Noah Nelson dives into the reasoning behind the abundance of squirrels on campus.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

There’s nothing to be scared of on campus. Well, except for final exams, papers, projects and presentations, but that’s a story for another day.

Whether you’re walking around campus to class, sporting events or other activities, surely you notice how beautiful campus is. And more than likely, you’ll notice the squirrels too.

Those countless little rodents on campus have quite a nutty history, and they’re a major aspect of the University.

In 1901, President Andrew S. Draper wanted to liven the campus a little more. In doing so, he requested to have squirrels roam around campus from here on out. According to the University Archives, his mission was successful and the University hasn’t looked back since.

Over the years, University squirrels have made their home on campus. They can be seen scurrying across tree limbs, dumpster diving into any University trash can and being a muse to students.

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Because of their good nature and curiosity, there’s a squirrel watching club on campus. During my first campus visit five years ago, the tour guide was proud to say there was even a club on campus that watched the squirrel watchers. I don’t think that one is an RSO, though.

Nevertheless, squirrels have been a staple at the University. Just check out the Illini Union Bookstore and you’ll see squirrels on shirts and even stuffed animals for sale. It truly is a nutty sight to see.

In recent years, there have been talks about possibly adopting the squirrels as our University mascot. Not much has come of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened in the future.

In the meantime, don’t be scared of the rodents. Instead, enjoy the fact they call University home just like all of us. But what about the geese on campus?

Don’t get me started on those pesky animals.


Noah is a senior in Media.

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