Furry Friends on Campus

First chickens, now…goats? Rumor has it that LC has recently adopted three new furry friends who are currently roaming around campus. Ollie, Eunice and Valentine arrived on the island at the start of spring term, and to date, many students remain unaware of their presence. Lars Schuster, a junior day student, was generous enough to give Loomis the responsibility of caring for his goats while he spent the semester away in Colorado. So, to ensure quality care, students Laurie Zelinski, Una Shea and faculty member Mr. Gwyn have risen to the challenge.
Why are the goats even here? “Companionship? Milk and cheese?” guesses senior Gaby Foti. Junior Anita Richmond humorously suggests that “We have our goats to honor the goat that was assassinated at Tulane University.” Mr. Gwyn, head of the work job program, explained the truth behind Ollie, Eunice and Valentine’s presence. “We are doing a demonstration project with the goats to show that the students can take care of something larger than chickens.” In addition to serving an educational purpose, the goats also eat invasive species that exist on campus, which greatly benefits our community.

Unlike most students, Frank Tucci, a goat enthusiast himself, is quite aware of these goats. “Can you stop referring to them as “the goats”? That sounds very derogatory” Frank yells, as I start off our conversation on this clearly sensitive topic. As a long distance runner, Frank and his fellow teammates often run past the goats during track practice. “After a run, the distance crew likes to go say hi to them. I pet them on occasion,” he describes. Located at the intersection of faculty row and the cross-country course, the goats find pleasure in these encounters. Mr. Gwyn even encourages these interactions under the conditions that you “just bring a few snacks such as apples or plants.” Five-year senior, Peter Delalio, has found a new delight within his extra year on the island. “Goats are fun; I am so glad I took a fifth year here so that I could meet these kids. My favorite is Valentine.”

Some students, however, are not so eager to visit these animals on campus. Alessandra Piccone, a raging Republican, noted, “I hate the fact that my school is turning into a farm.” Matt Bullock, a raging democrat, supports this belief by expressing his hate for farm animals and farming and articulating his aspiration to “live in a penthouse in New York City.” Between the new garden in the hayfield, the chickens and now the goats, our school definitely showcases its agricultural aspects. If these additions help the school to be more environmentally conscious, is there really an issue? “It is using money that we could use to build buildings, or even get better food,” Ally continues. Mr. Gwyn, however, notes how easy these animals are to care for. With apples and trees as their diet, how expensive can the goats really be? It seems be that they give more to the island than take.

Despite some lingering negativity, these goats are helping Loomis to grow environmentally and as a community. I even paid a visit to these goats during my free period this past week, where I threw a couple of apples inside their pen to watch them scurry around after them. Although I was initially thrown off by their strong scent, I grew to find their lopsided shuffles and silly smiles endearing. So my recommendation is the next time you have a couple of free minutes, grab a few apples, head down to faculty row and pay a visit to Valentine, Eunice and Ollie.