This winter, members of Wesleyan’s Squirrels On-Campus Knitting Society (SOCKS) made blankets and booties for the more than 600 new pinkies born at Wesleyan over the last several months. The club was founded two years ago by Chip Sciurus ’18, an eastern grey squirrel from Hoboken, New Jersey.
“I started the club as a way to get Wes Squirrels involved in campus life, give back to the community, and connect with other campus carolinensis,” says Sciurus. So far, more than 50 Wes Squirrels have joined the organization’s efforts to make a difference at Wesleyan.
According to Stella Hudsonicus ’19, a red squirrel from Somerville, Massachusetts, knitting is more than just a hobby. “Knitting can actually reduce stress, anxiety, and blood pressure—something all students—including Wes Squirrels—need, especially during midterms and final exams,” said Hudsonicus.
Sciurus agreed. “Some squirrels meditate or do yoga to de-stress—we knit. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. And we’re pretty darn good at it, if I do say so myself!”
Knitting is also a great way for Wes Squirrels to stay in shape during the long New England winters. “Before I took up knitting, I tended to put on a few pounds during the colder months,” said Chip Volans ’17, one of only a handful of southern flying squirrels at Wesleyan. “But knitting is actually a great way to burn calories—110 per hour! Who knew?”
Some squirrels knit only in the winter, while others practice their craft year round. “Knitting gives me something to do when I’m not out digging or burying my stash,” said Hudsonicus. “Sometimes I miss a stitch, and I think to myself, oh, nuts! But then I get right back into the swing of things.”
While SOCKS has been growing in popularity since it was established in 2015, club members have found their services to be in even greater demand since November’s presidential election. “Lately, we’ve had a lot of requests for pink hats. Students are just nuts about them, whatever that’s all about,” said Volans. “But if the people want ’em, we’ll knit ’em!”
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