Opening minds and dorms this winter

Kristine Gill

I’ve tried very hard all year not to mention what I’m about to say. It’s been difficult because I feel it is a very important topic and one that members of the Kent State community especially should take very seriously. Yet as rain and sleet tinkle gently against my windows, and as the campus is covered in a thin but precarious layer of snow, I feel I can no longer avoid the issue. I’m imploring everyone for help this winter.

I’m not asking for donations or that you hand in your old winter coats and boots (although one glove would act as a very cozy sleeping bag). Don’t rush to Eastway to spend the last of your meal plan on canned goods. All I’m asking is that you open your homes and your hearts; and by homes, I mean dorms and by hearts, I mean minds.

It’s cold out there, and we aren’t the only ones shivering. Try standing outside completely naked except for a layer of black fur. Doesn’t sound too fun, eh? Try living out there year round.

If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m referring to the squirrels.

As great a concept as hibernation may sound during the busy weeks before finals, holing up in a nest for the winter is not something squirrels look forward to. And before you question how I presume that, just know that I’ve conducted a campus-wide survey detailing squirrels and their winter behavior.

I refuse to let them all suffer this winter and because most of us will be at home during break, I propose we let them live in our dorms. I realize this idea generates a lot of skepticism and well-founded questions. Will they use our toothbrushes? Can they be trusted around wooden furniture? Are they house trained? It is good that you’ve jumped to these questions. There is no need to consider to the repercussions most likely associated with allowing small rodents to utilize your living space.

The only thing the hallway manual says is no pets except for goldfish and no wild animals. We all know these squirrels act more like domesticated creatures, walking around campus instead of scampering, and gently patting down mounds of dirt to cover strategically placed acorns. I’ve seen squirrels reading the newspaper, and just yesterday I witnessed the hijacking of grounds crew vehicle by two furry, black bolts of lightning.

I’ve prepared housing agreements for your buck-toothed guests to sign, so there will be no need to worry about coming back to a gnawed bed frame or a mess of nutshells and fur to clean up. In exchange for the month-long stay they’ve all agreed to adhere to a weekly cleaning service. For the whole of next semester these furry little guys will come knocking at your windows and offer to clean your dorm Snow White-style. Cleaning supplies and translators will be provided.

All that’s left is to alert the squirrels. The next time you see one scurrying around in preparation for the dreaded hibernation season, refrain from scaring them off with a loud stomp or scrape of your boot against the pavement. Instead, a hunker down, and call them over. Don’t question whether this method works; have you tried it? Let them know what’s going on and which window you’ll be leaving open for them this winter. Tell them your final exam schedule and when they can move in. If you enjoy being domestic, purchase a nut tray with your meal plan and leave it out with a bowl of fresh water. It will be up to you to secure a housing agreement before move-in. I’ll work on having one available online as a PDF.

Thank you for so kindly considering my proposal. I’ve long been telling those bushy-tailed rascals of the kindness Kent State students possess. Now they too can experience excellence in action.

Kristine Gill is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].