Onward Debates: The Battle Of The Penn State Critters
Picture a beautiful walk on campus. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing just right, and campus is practically alive. Suddenly, you stop. They see you. You see them. Their little eyes lock with yours. They scurry up surprisingly close to you, friendlier than you expected. But it’s not your crush from Econ 102– it’s an famed Penn State critter.
University Park is crawling (no pun intended) with wildlife. With luscious greenery everywhere you turn, it’s no surprise our beautiful campus attracts more than college students. At times you may feel envious of your friends who live in more urban environments, but we have something they don’t: squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, and ducks…oh my!
It’s hard to pick a favorite Penn State animal. There’s the classic squirrel, the sheer adorable bunny, the wildcard hawk, and so many more. In fact, we at Onward State couldn’t pick a single critter to be named the best Penn State animal. So a few of our writers chose our favorites furry friends to defend. Behold! The Battle of the Penn State Critters!
Carolyn Popescu: In Defense of Squirrels
I don’t know if it’s their amicable personalities or their fluffy charm, but the squirrels have won me over. My affinity for these creatures started early. When I was 12 I was dragged along for a Penn state campus tour for my sister. I thought the experience would be long, boring, and dreadful. However, that was before I witnessed my first squirrel.
These squirrels were not like squirrels I’ve had the pleasure of meeting before. They were immediately warm and friendly, practically scurrying at my toes. I had thought I loved any squirrel. Whenever I had the chance to visit Central Park in New York City, the squirrels were definitely a highlight. Boy, was I wrong.
There must be something in the water here at PSU (er, I mean, the nuts), because the squirrels here are naturally better mannered. They are not jaded like big city squirrels. They are down-to-earth, plump, and content. They don’t need things. They don’t need expensive real estate. They just need some lush grass and friends. Heck, we even had a student fall head over heels with the squirrels here, crowning her the respectable title of “Squirrel Girl.” Squirrels will always be the triumphant, classic, and original PSU critter. No contest.
Anna Foley: In Defense of Bunnies
I have a condition. You’ve probably heard of it before, and someone you know probably has it too. It’s widespread, and there doesn’t seem to be a cure in sight. It’s called Resting Bitch Face, and I’ve been dealing with it ever since I started going to Penn State. Whenever I take a walk around campus, my face freezes in this ugly scowl. I could be having the best day ever, but you would never know by my facial expression.
However, there is one type of critter on campus that can crack my snarly facade: bunnies. They are, hands down, the best and cutest animal on campus. I can’t help but giggle or smile when I see one hopping around Old Main Lawn. You can’t beat their little cottontails and huge ears. Plus, the way their noses quiver is just too precious. Every time I pass by a bunny, I just want to scoop it up and cuddle with it.
On a more practical note, bunnies are the best Penn State critter because they are the least intrusive. They won’t try to steal your food (I’m looking at you, Sneezy), and you don’t have to worry about being pooped on (Thanks, Penn State crows). Nope, bunnies just hop around, look adorable, and nibble on grass. What more could you want?
Also, if baby bunnies don’t make you melt into a puddle of love and adoration, you might have a heart of ice. Just saying.
Doug Leeson: In Defense of Chipmunks
By far, the most underrated Penn State animal is the chipmunk. They’re rampant in the southwest corner of campus where I live, and though they aren’t as friendly as the Penn State squirrels, they still rule.
Not that I’ve put serious thought into it, but squirrels would definitely be the No. 1 seed in a Penn State animals bracket. Chipmunks would be a Lehigh-esque sleeper, until you really break down the talent – it’s just a smaller, lighter colored squirrel. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
I just like to root for the underdog.
Squirrels, ducks, and people’s pets walking around are always nice, but opening my door in the morning and seeing a swarm of chipmunks climb the nearest hiding spot is just too neat to ignore.
That being said, crows are the worst. There’s no place in Happy Valley for a crow.
Steffen Blanco: In Defense of The Hawk
Often only seen on the occasional snapchat and stories from your friends, the hawk is a rare spectacle to see on campus. Sporting a high IQ compared to other birds, a keen eyesight, and an ability to adapt to a wide array of environments, hawks are the badass birds of Penn State.
With a diet consisting of smaller critters that may or may not be featured in this article, we’ve got ourselves a king reigning supreme at the top of the food chain. When it comes down to it, the Hawk eats rabbits and squirrels (Sorry Sneezy!) for breakfast. Essentially, why wouldn’t the king of the animal kingdom here in Happy Valley be the best animal on campus?
David Abruzzese: In Defense of Ducks