By: Hazel Bozikowski l Staff Writer l hbozikowski@defenderadeleon
After a boat ride through Lake Champlain, a hike up the Green Mountains, and a bite to eat at Mr. Mike’s Pizza, you will find yourself on the campus of St. Michael’s College. Most people rave about our 5 star restaurant food, or our many NCAA championship wins, but not many know of our alluring squirrels we are so blessed to have. Whether you’re walking through Gilbrook, taking the hike to the academic buildings or watching a soccer game on the Duff, you’re bound to see a little creature with a full 12-inch sub in their mouth. Unlike other squirrels that feed off of compost, crumbs, or dumpster scraps, St. Mikes wines and dines their squirrels. As a community, we make sure no squirrel is left hungry!
The squirrels have garnered so much attention that an Instagram page entitled “smcsqurlz” has been dedicated to them. Since 2019, students have been contributing various memes and photos of the squirrels holding comically large food items. The student body collectively participates in submitting photos of squirrels eating, playing, and hanging from miscellaneous objects. Rowan Metivier, ’23, submitted photos of a squirrel carrying a french fry and paper solo cup across campus. “The SMC squirrels are an integral part of the SMC community, they add a lot to the culture on campus,” Metivier said. Metivier has also submitted other images of squirrels “fist fighting” and carrying each other in their mouths.
Besides our squirrels’ unique and developed pallets they have also taken a liking to the 300s housing. All kidding aside, the following students have had real encounters with these furry creatures. Erin Stolz ’23 and Molly Carroll ’23, members of townhouse 337 have first-hand experience with our furry friends. In the early fall the roommates witnessed a squirrel break in. “We woke up from a nap to something we never expected, two squirrels jumping all over us.” Stolz said. The critters then proceeded to, “chew holes in my backpack and eat my trail mix,” Carroll said. The roommates had hoped this would be the last of their encounters with the squirrels but they were mistaken. “We never thought we would see one squirrel in our house let alone two,” Carroll stated. Since this interaction, the young women have always been wary of opening windows, and leaving compost outside due to the fear of a squirrel breaking in again.
Jack Fisher ’26 also had a harrowing encounter with an aggressive squirrel. “I was walking from Alliot to Alumni hall with a piece of pepperoni pizza in my hand and all of the sudden a squirrel came running up my leg and tried to steal my pizza,” Fisher said. “For a moment I couldn’t move.” This situation actually made Fisher scared of squirrels for days. “I would walk to class and fear that a squirrel would jump on me again,” Fish said. Despite this sounding traumatic, Fisher said he now looks back and laughs. In the squirrels’ defense they only wanted what Fisher had: a delicious slice of Alliot pizza.
The reason these squirrels are so comfortable with the student body is because, “they are not harassed by students and are therefore very brazen and comfortable with us passing by. It has been scientifically proven on our very campus that you can get closer to a St. Mike’s gray squirrel then you can get to a gray squirrel in the woods” said Biology Professor Declan McCabe. “Biology students tested the hypothesis by approaching campus squirrels and measuring how close they could get before the squirrel ran up a tree. They repeated the measurements in the woods and learned that the distance was about twice as far in the woods” added McCabe.
No matter the situation the student body still finds ways to appreciate our furry friends. During walks back from exams, or meetings with Jeff Vincent after a long weekend, seeing a squirrel with a cupcake will never fail to cheer up our students. These critters have become a unique part of our campus that we are proud to parent.