Saving the Trash Pandas


Adriana Barrios

Yet another injustice is about to be committed on this campus. That’s right, I’m talking about the imminent removal of the unofficial school mascot, the noble raccoon. We are approaching the end of the quarter; these are trying times for the student body, and as we lay here vulnerable, UCSD plans to strike again. This time they are attacking us where it hurts most, in our hearts, by setting up traps in Warren College in order for these cute creatures to be “relocated to a more remote area.” This is an affront to the very core of the student spirit on this campus and I simply will not stand for it.

Warren is home to the Jacobs School of Engineering; it houses all of those depressed science, technology, engineering, math majors with too many classes and few joys in life. Raccoons are the one highlight in their dreary existence and for Warren to take that away from them is downright cruel. They are more than a symbol of optimism; they are a vital part of this college’s culture, what distinguishes them from the rest. By removing them, UCSD is robbing this part of campus from what is rightfully theirs.

The impact of the raccoons on this campus goes beyond brightening the day of the future engineers of America. Raccoons have become a symbol of our campus as a whole, and they must be protected and kept on this land. The raccoon is resilient and clever; it persists in the face of adversity and thrives in the darkness, all characteristics demonstrated by the school’s population. The trash pandas are the embodiment of the UC San Diego spirit, of our ability to come to this campus in varying degrees of willingness and make do with what we have, to overcome the many administrative hurdles (tuition hikes, capped majors, insufficient class slots, the parking) in the perpetual journey to success. Just like raccoons dig through the trash cans and bushes, we too dig through the many campus problems in order to find our way to the tasty cheeto bag at the end (our diploma). As they thrive in the darkness of the night, we thrive in the darkness of obscurity, a school that, despite not getting mass recognition from the general public, continues to make tremendous strides in diverse fields of research and culture.

They may be the poor man’s lemur, but the rich man wishes he could be so lucky. These cute fluffy critters might meander throughout the campus grounds, but they have found a home in Earl Warren College, Sixth College and Eleanor Roosevelt College. To remove them would be to take away a pillar of this school. UCSD takes away our right to a free market economy, our appetite and quite often our water, but taking away the raccoons crosses the line. Leave our raccoons where they belong: in our bushes and in our trash cans. No matter where they go, there will be no way to remove them from the soul of this institution.