by: Leslie Pizzagalli
There is a question that crosses my mind often while walking through Midtown to class: why are college squirrels so friendly? I have experienced several instances where the squirrels on Western’s campus approach my feet without hesitation. I have witnessed squirrels leap onto the tables outside the Student Center while doing my homework during the warmer months. Despite the frigid temperature, these fuzzy little guys are still dashing around campus without fear. And yet, why are squirrels off campus always so timid; darting away if you so much as look their direction, and yet WestConn squirrels are different?
Conclusion #1: students feed them. To be fair, I am usually nice to people who give me food too. I have seen my fair share of squirrels plummeting head first into the campus trash cans. If you thought squirrels only eat acorns, you are mistaken. Our own Echo Newspaper President, Alyssa Meyers, explained an experience with college squirrels while on a stroll with me through the Midtown Campus, “I made direct eye contact with one before it [violently] dove into the trash.” Not long ago, I saw a campus squirrel resting on top of the garbage bin after successfully foraging a cheese doodle out of the trash (relatable–see picture above for reference).
Conclusion #2: squirrels sympathize with the struggles of college students (too deep…?). These tree-dwellers see us marching back and forth to class each day, and who knows? Maybe they feel for us. If somebody can legally make their emotional-support animal a peacock, why can’t campus squirrels come to our aid during our most trying times as college students? I, for one, thoroughly enjoy watching squirrel antics while on my way to classes each morning. Seeing as they dig their meals out of the trash with absolutely no shame, college squirrels should not pass judgement on you while they stare into your soul as they hang upside down from the tree branches around Midtown.
Realistically, college squirrels are probably a different breed because of the snacks Western students supply them with throughout the semesters. However, the furry friends that live on campus just might be so approachable because they are constantly surrounded by stressed out students trudging to and from class- they may just want to show empathy in any way they can.
Next time you witness amusing behavior from a WCSU squirrel, feel free to share it with The Echo. Everybody you meet has a different story- including the Western squirrels. Maybe the thought process of these college critters goes beyond cheese doodle. However, we may never know.