Shortly before 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 11, students excitedly began showing up to room K119, eager to stuff furry friends at Carroll’s third Stuff-A-Bear event. 800 bears, koalas, snowmen and alligators made up the assortment of available creatures, which could be hand-stuffed and dressed in tiny Carroll Community College T-shirts.
For Amanda Gardiner, Carroll’s newly instated Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership, the large turnout came as a surprise because this was her first time organizing the event. However, Gardiner welcomed the crowd and was pleased to see students having a good time. “I think events like this are so seamless and people just want to come,” she said.
The event returned to Carroll this February after previous years showed similar success, and will likely be back next year as well. The variety of animals, though differing slightly from last time, still proved to be a hit with the student body. “We try to figure out what kids want, as well as [consider] the availability on the website [we order from],” explained Gardiner. The choices included bears that came in white, cinnamon and tan, pandas, koalas and a few snowmen and alligators that were left over from other events.
Monique Staveley, a Stuff-A-Bear veteran, picked out a lime green alligator to stuff as a present for her boyfriend, Matthew Gardiner. Choosing the gator didn’t take much thought for Staveley. “I love reptiles!” she exclaimed. Staveley enjoyed Stuff-A-Bear because of the opportunity it provided to make gifts for friends and significant others.
Stuff-A-Bear also provided a much appreciated break for students who juggle tough classes, jobs and other adult responsibilities . “I think the fact that it’s kind of a kids’ thing makes it exciting,” said Felicia Young. Young also liked the variety of bears that was offered and the fact that she could choose an animal she loved, the panda.
“This event makes me feel like I don’t have to go grocery shopping after this,” joked Kayla Campbell about the stress relieving aspect of the event.
Campbell’s friend Molly Kleezer agreed that Stuff-A-Bear is a good way to de-stress and have fun. “Carroll puts on great activities,” she said. Kleezer attends many of Carroll’s events and enjoys all of them. Though she loves koalas and chose to stuff one, she would be thrilled to see the addition of a snake at the next Stuff-A-Bear event.
Stuff-A-Bear was a wildly popular event and a wonderful opportunity for students to bond while making their own fluffy pals. “Events like this really build a sense of community,” said Amanda Gardiner.