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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Look Both Ways: Campus takeover, squirrels vs. geese

Lucy Atkinson
A squirrel and geese rest under the words “Look Both Ways” and the topic of the week: Wildlife campus takeover. If one of the two had to take over campus, what would you prefer: squirrels or geese? (Lucy Atkinson | Northern Star)


By: Olivia Zapf, Assistant Opinion Editor

Is it better to be feared or loved? Machiavelli would argue feared – and so would I. Squirrels, while cute, are no match for the menacing, honkin’ geese that NIU has been blessed with throughout its history.

Five adult geese and six, yellow goslings graze at East Lagoon under the shadows of surrounding trees. Geese breed in the spring and are fiercely protective of their tiny goslings. (Lucy Atkinson | Northern Star) 

NIU has tried a variety of things to get rid of the geese. From putting Vaseline on their eggs to sending dogs after them, the administration has tried – and failed – to eradicate them. Their tenacity and overcoming of adversity are crucial to NIU’s identity. Students juggle a variety of different roles – siblings, students, employees – and the geese are a perfect example of not allowing challenges to stop us. 

A goose stares in through a second story window in Davis Hall. The protective nature of the goose would surely keep students safe from all possible threats if geese were to take over campus. (Lucy Atkinson | Northern Star) 

Despite their positive qualities, they have one very, seemingly, negative trait: tyranny. Many geese are territorial and will attack people they feel threaten their goslings. While this may seem like a downside, if the geese were protecting us, they would treat those who oppose us in the aggressive manner. They are the ultimate protectors. 

While on the topic of geese as protectors and representations of NIU, there is a strong argument for the NIU Huskies to become the NIU Geese based on their resilience and pride in the campus.

There are obvious positives about squirrels: they are cute, small and wouldn’t hurt our students. These are precisely the issues at hand. They could not defend us because they are cute, small and wouldn’t hurt anyone. 

The time of the Huskies is over. The time of the squirrels is never. The time of the geese is forever.


By: Lucy Atkinson, Opinion Editor

Acorn treats, warm night snuggles, playful scurries: this is the adorable lifestyle a campus run by squirrels offers. 

Two squirrels cling to the side of a tree on an overcast day. Squirrels are often spotted scurrying about campus and make their nests of leaves in the branches of campus trees. (Lucy Atkinson | Northern Star)

A geese-run campus would be a corrupt oligarchy with constant political discontent. Our territorial leaders would terrify each other, and us. We all know it’s true. 

The geese may bless our campus with yellow goslings in the spring, but they also bring horror: wings flapping, necks down, tongues extended in a hiss, and full-grown adult students running for their lives. There’s no time for shame when you’re escaping a goose.

NIU’s campus is filled with squirrels, but they’re constantly overlooked because the geese cause more havoc.

If squirrels took over campus, we’d expand a variety of unique skills without living in constant fear. 

A squirrel munches on a donut while perched on a campus trash can. Squirrels are expert foragers, sure to pass on their skills to students if they took over campus. (Nick Glover | Northern Star) 

Squirrels could teach us some mad tree-climbing and acrobatic skills. 

We’d develop foraging capabilities for nuts, seeds and sweet berries: far better food groups than the wet grass geese would have us eating. 

Learning to keep stashes of our food could improve time management and rationing skills, helpful to any student.  

And to ease our mental health, recall that squirrel life prioritizes food and naps. For sleepytime, squirrels tuck themselves away in warm, leafy nests. You might notice these snuggle-beds around campus; hidden in tree branches, they’re often mistaken for birds’ nests.

With squirrels in control, every dorm would smell like warm spices and fallen leaves, and every day would feel like a Beatrix Potter book come to life. 

We’d be living in a woodland creature’s fairytale; geese in control would leave us all scarred, physically and mentally. In a nutshell, the winning species is perfectly clear.

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