There are some things that college students grow out of as they complete their degree. Things like playing board games, watching Saturday morning cartoons, or even the expectation of getting eight hours of sleep every night. However, it has become apparent that many JMU students have not outgrown some of their most pleasant childhood experiences. After UPB hosted their first ever UPBuild-A-Bear workshop, it was overwhelmingly obvious that JMU students have an undying love for their teddy bears.
The workshop took place on Friday, January 29th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in TDU. Despite the freezing winter temperatures and the biting wind, hundreds of students showed up to build their personal bear. Approximately 300 students from crowded outside and in the lobby of TDU to try their chance at customizing a bear. Students from an assortment of majors, ages, and backgrounds all made an appearance. Even some of JMU’s “manliest men” were in attendance.
Freshman hospitality major and UPB member Jenna Edwards commented, “I was very impressed with the amount of people that showed up. I kind of wanted to build a bear myself.”
Unfortunately, Edwards wasn’t the only one was not able to create a personalized bear. Due to the limited amount of teddy bears, UPB had to distribute the bears on a first-come, first-served basis.
UPB Special Events director Shirali Shah explained, “We are so excited that we were able to put on such a successful event but we did not anticipate that JMU students would love teddy bears this much. It’s honestly one of my favorite events!”
Shah was responsible for facilitating the event and coordinating with Party Animal, who provided the Build-A-Bear supplies and materials. The workshop featured bears, stuffing, customizable t-shirts, and personalized birth certificates for each bear.
Upon arrival, students received numbered red tickets that allowed them to obtain a teddy bear. Once students received a bear, they could exchange their red tickets for white tickets which allowed them to stuff their bear. After stuffing, students designed t-shirts for their bears using various decorations such as markers and stickers.
Each bear had very distinct characteristics when finished but there were a lot of “Duke Bears” that came to be that night.
“I couldn’t decide on what I wanted my bear to look like, but then I thought that a JMU bear would look really cute,” said undeclared freshman Aimee Guidry.
When students finished creating their bears, they had the opportunity to create a birth certificate for their bears. They could give the bear a name, birthday, birth place, and most importantly, an owner. That night, many owners left TDU elated to have a new pal. Sophomore health science major Jessana Westbrook admitted that she hopped right out of the pretzel line at Auntie Anne’s when she realized she could make her own bear.
Why do JMU students love teddy bears so much? The answer may never reveal itself, but the mystery may be summed up best by senior international affairs major Catherine Antash, “No matter how old we get, we are still kids at heart.”
For more information about upcoming UPB events, check out their website!