Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Human-sized squirrel is UMass social media hit

Pedestrians below have taken notice concerning the figure in the window
(Chris McLaughlin/ Daily Collegian)

Pedestrians passing through the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts have taken to social media concerning the bizarre sight of a large, human-sized squirrel peering down from above surrounded by glowing red lights.

The figures behind the creature, dubbed “Jeff,” are sophomore mathematics major Bertram Thomas and sophomore computer science majors Greg Fleming, Will Creonte and Zach Williams, who is also an operations and information management double major.

According to the four, Jeff was the in tandem effort of the suite members, who each contributed to the display. Thomas mentioned the idea was a last-minute decision, stating, “this was decided like the day before we came.”

“We wanted this to be something that everyone can see whether they want to or not, so we oriented the entire room based around Jeff,” explained Creonte. The suitemates have Jeff positioned in their suite’s lounge window.

The group hoped in doing this it would elicit reactions from those below. “The first couple of nights we had the windows open and from seven o’clock on we would just hear people be like, ‘What is that?’ and then we would look outside and there’s people taking pictures. That went on for like the first week probably. It still happens, like consistently people would stop to take pictures and comment on it,” Creonte said.

The four members explained they have taken delight in the display’s popularity which they admit was meant to have a shock factor. “We’re not just doing it because we think it’s a friendly squirrel; it’s intimidating. That’s why we stick with the red lights, other colors aren’t as imposing,” Creonte said.

“Some people thought it was a real person. There are people who thought, ‘Why is that guy standing in the window in a squirrel suit?’ which is the best because they think someone would just spend hours standing there in this costume staring outside,” he added.

Creonte also explained Jeff’s online success. “One of my friends, Joe, was the one who sent in the [Snapchat] story to the ZooMass account on Instagram and then I saw that and I thought that’s it, we totally made it.”

The post referenced on the popular non-affiliate of UMass and direct affiliate of Barstool Sports’ page has gained over 3,500 likes on the social media platform since it was posted.

Williams said he owes the Commonwealth Honors College’s location along Hicks Way as another factor of its success. He additionally claimed that at night the window can be seen from as far as Goodell Lawn up the nearby hillside.

He said he sees further social media potential for Jeff. Creonte suggested making alterations in the future. “Like, every month or something we swap out the costume or put him in a Patriots jersey on Sundays,” Creonte said.

Fleming believes the group’s creation is “leagues above” other window displays on campus, such as the sticky notes often seen in the Southwest Residential Area.

“The sticky notes, that’s amateur, it’s not as creative,” Creonte added.

According to the most recent rendition UMass Residential Life Community Standards for the 2018-2019 academic year the display, while unusual, does not appear to be in violation with any written rules of residence life policy.

Chris McLaughlin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ChrisMcLJournal.

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    amySep 24, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    It’s a chipmunk. At least this is an actually pleasant article; Daily Collegain should do more articles like this; opposed to the SJW propoganda.