The need for a Groundhog in the flesh

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Students perch on their friends’ shoulders in celebration of Groundhog Day. Photo courtesy of Peter Burleigh.

The other week, we overheard upperclassmen talking about a ‘real Groundhog’ on campus this year, which elated us beyond belief. You can imagine our disappointment when we realized, in a tragic misinterpretation of words, that they were referring merely to the party that happened last weekend and not a real live rodent to cheer our dreary winter days. 

As we shared this experience with our friends, we began to ask, why don’t we have a real groundhog on campus? We would like to persuade the administration to consider a new addition to UD’s campus that deepens its commitment to its mission as a liberal arts college in pursuit of the good, true and furry: a real, live groundhog by the name of Glaucon-Beatrice, or GB for short.

As a Catholic school, the inner reality of our identity should be made manifest with an external reality. We need to experience truth with our senses to fully enter into the mystery we are exploring. Therefore, if we want to truly be devotees of the groundhog, we need a real groundhog that we can see, touch and hear.

In our pursuit of truth, we want knowledge of an authentic groundhog that is most similar to the groundhog existing in Plato’s realm of the forms. We know that UD makes use of a groundhog suit, but this is a distortion of reality, an alarming deviation from the appearance of the true groundhog. 

Furthermore, a real groundhog would represent UD’s commitment to combat modern tendencies to use technology to deprive humanity of tangible experience. As certain groups advocate for using an animatronic Punxsutawney Phil in the future, UD’s real, live groundhog will embolden students to “swim against the tides,” as Pope Francis encourages us to do.

In addition to these philosophical reasons, imagine the possibilities that could ensue from adding UD’s own little Phil to its culture and traditions. As an initiation into campus culture, freshmen can be required to chase GB around campus, trying to feed it the least appetizing food from the Caf. For every hour of failure, ten points will be deducted from their first Lit Trad essay.

If that’s not convincing enough, there could also be an opportunity to raise money for the school or some other organization of choice by allowing students to bet on whether or not GB will see its shadow. Will you be Team Early Spring or Team Six More Weeks of Winter?

Or, perhaps, inspired by Phil Connors’ sudden talent, will the art students engage in an ice sculpture contest? Wouldn’t groundhog-esque ice sculptures lining the Mall on your way to class be a sight to see? 

But most practically, a real groundhog could be utilized as a sobriety test for the most passionate devotees of the bacchanalian rodent. The test will be comprised of three stages:

1. Have the groundhog and a captured squirrel in two cages. Bring the inebriated individual over and ask him or her to identify the groundhog.

2. Ask the suspect to recite, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

3. Ask the suspect to recite a quote from any Core text while holding the groundhog. They can’t slur and they can’t drop the groundhog. If they do, the groundhog has full permission to pull an Ugolino on him.

Now that you are thoroughly convinced of the necessity of procuring a groundhog for campus, you may be asking, “How does one get a groundhog?” We are so glad you asked.

We pose the question, “Why have a groundhog when we can have the groundhog?” Think about that for a moment and if you’re a senior with a car who dreams of Troy, come talk to us. 

Stealing has been a central activity of Western Civilization since ancient times — just ask Menelaus. For legal and moral reasons, this is a joke. Or that’s what the editors made us write anyway. 

After we have taken the prize that is rightfully ours, we will need a home for GB. The first option is a dark wood, specifically, the woods by the art village. Carve a hole into the tree and we are good to go. Alternatively, let GB choose its own dwelling. It’s not a tame groundhog, you know.

We believe that UD is ready for the true reign of the groundhog. We ask you to welcome Glaucon-Beatrice, who, as Dante would say, is “the sole reason why / the [rodent] race surpasses all that [crawls] / beneath the heaven with the smallest spheres.”

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