Squirrel!

Here’s a fun news alert for …

SQUIRREL!

… the media to consider …

SQUIRREL!

… in the days ahead.

SQUIRREL!

On Monday, January 21, it’s National Squirrel Appreciation Day.  (Yes, it does seem there is, in fact, a national day for everything. But who can begrudge squirrels their very own day?)

Hope College has one faculty member and one staff member who know quite a bit about squirrels since the little critters are the college’s unofficial mascot due to their numerous, lively and beloved presence on campus.

Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray, professor of biology

Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray, professor of biology, has conducted several squirrel investigations as part of her Animal Behavior classes through the years. She’s able to set the record straight about the many myths surrounding black-coated squirrels. They are not a separate species, they did not arrive in Holland, Michigan, as the results of a wrecked circus train long ago, and their “aggressive” behaviors are the same as other squirrels. As a service to all squirrels everywhere, she can debunk misconceptions, relate some amazing foraging decisions squirrels make, as well as address squirrel genetic research regarding coat colors.

Greg Olgers, director of news media services

Greg Olgers, long-time director of news media services for the Public Affairs and Marketing Office, is also somewhat of a squirrel aficionado. His research and writing about the “culture” of squirrels at Hope, in Holland and even nationwide for a News from Hope College story in 2016 meant he was digging into multiple sources for nuggets of wisdom about the creature. He can address how Holland and other U.S. cities actively built their squirrel populations in city parks at the turn of the 20th century.

Trending: College Financial Aid Application Season

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened to college-going high school seniors and their families just a week and a half ago. According to collegeboard.org, in 2014-15, about two-thirds of full-time students paid for college with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships. Approximately 57% of financial aid dollars awarded to undergraduates was in the form of grants, and 34% took the form of federal loans.

Jill Nutt

Jill Nutt, the director of financial aid at Hope, can speak to trends and issues on the college financial aid landscape. Nutt has spent over 25 years on college campuses dealing with these questions, the last six at Hope. She is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators as well as the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association where she has served in various positions on the governing board.