December 6, 2016
By Christopher Sich
It was a chilly Wednesday morning in mid-November and both commuter and resident students rolled out of bed to begin their daily routines at Dominican. The day was November 16, an ordinary day for most, and a unique day for some.
From as early as 9 a.m., students lined up outside the Underground hoping to be one of the 155 students to receive a golden ticket, resulting in one free stuffed animal. The air slowly became dense with happiness and excitement as the lights intensified.
Student Involvement set up all the tables and got the animals ready. Students who received a golden ticket returned at 11 a.m. and waited in line anxiously to claim their free stuffed animal.
As I walked around the Underground I heard students talking amongst themselves saying things like, “What should I name it?” and “I hope I can get a giraffe!”
There was a subtle commotion as students scurried in, biting their nails, trying to decide what animal to pick. Some picked their favorite and others had to settle for plan b.
“I like to see the students get excited on deciding what animal pick,” Student Involvement worker Benjamin Rios said. “I also like to see how upset they get when they can’t get the one they want.”
I saw what Rios meant, and his statement was true. Students threw their arms up when the penguin they wanted wasn’t there, but they still had a smile that went ear to ear. It didn’t matter what animal they got, what mattered was the stuffing. No not your mother’s thanksgiving stuffing, but the soft polyester stuffing that brings each stuffed animal to life.
“You get to make new friends, build your stuffed animal with friends and make your new ‘buddy’ personal,” Student Involvement worker Raleigh Woodford said.
As soothing Christmas music played, I stood and saw students building not just a stuffed animal, but also a buddy of sorts. This buddy could be for themselves or maybe a younger sibling, a loved one or maybe a friend but, no matter who it is for, it symbolizes our youth. On the outside they were all college students, but on the inside they were children again.
A stuffed animal is simple, a staple of all our childhoods, something that some of us relied on as children to help us sleep at night, or to put a smile on our face. The best part though, no matter how fast we grew, no matter where we traveled or moved, our buddy was always there.
“His name is Donovan the Duck,” Marilyn Gonzalez said. “This brings back childhood memories and it allows you to be a child in college, who doesn’t want that?”
Marilyn has a point. With all the stress and work we as students endure from time to time, it is satisfying to be a child again, even if it is temporary.
Dominican Student Involvement will have one more Build-A-Buddy event next semester before Valentine’s Day. So make sure to follow them on Facebook at DU Student Involvement and on Snapchat at dubeinvolved, so when the time comes, you can also build a buddy that lasts a lifetime.