Missing a bus at a commuter school like UH is not a first (or last) time occurrence. In 2020, when then-freshman public policy senior Sameer Abdulmajeed missed his bus, it led to the start of the infamous Squirrel Society.
In the beginning
“One day, I missed my bus. So I was just hanging out near the library, waiting, when I saw multiple people feeding squirrels,” he said. “So, I went up to them and joked about starting a squirrel club. They thought it was a good idea, so I ended up making GroupMe called “UH Squirrel Club.’”
Within the first few days, the unofficial club GroupMe gained hundreds of members. Now having over 550 members, it’s a registered organization.
While it’s a place for squirrel lovers to talk and gather, they also have formal meetings. In the last couple of semesters, they’ve held events such as squirrel feeding groups, squirrel-themed movie nights, a thanksgiving party, a squirrel arts and crafts social and a winter ornament decoration event.
“This organization has given squirrel lovers a place to gather and have fun appreciating the squirrels together,” Abdulmajeed said.
All events are paid for by the officer board themselves, the board considered having fees, but decided against it. Modeling this organization to be a place where the squirrel loves on campus and gets to talk and interact was more important than focusing on money.
“College is stressful, so I think that clubs like ours really help students to have a bit of fun in between exams and assignments,” said recent graduate Justine Samaroo.
While the organization is a place for squirrel lovers, some people have argued against the club, saying that it’s making them dependent on humans for food. Samaroo, who served as the club’s vice president, disagrees.
“This is incorrect because people have been feeding the campus squirrels for decades. There are so many people on campus who have never even heard of The Squirrel Society and still feed them regularly. People love the squirrels, so it’s inevitable that they will want to feed them.” said Samaroo.
The main goal
The main goal of the Squirrel Society has been to foster a squirrel-loving community and promote healthy ways to feed squirrels.
“Our goal is to spread awareness of the safest and healthiest way to feed squirrels, so I think we have had some impact on the squirrel’s health as well,” said Abdulmajeed.
What started out as a missed bus turned into an organization that has created a space for squirrel lovers on campus and fostered a community among peers at the university.
“I would say as much as it’s a squirrel lovers club,” said HELPS program Ph.D. student Chelsea Martinez. “It’s also a safe space for students to share concerns and thoughts, to just have a space to have a voice.”