University selling items with albino squirrels for holiday gifts

Albino Squirrel pins
Tie tack/lapel pin, enameled in green and white, and featuring a cameo portrait of the squirrel.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just in time for holiday season shopping, the University of North Texas' Willis Library is unveiling several items featuring the campus' legendary albino squirrels. Three of the white, pink-eyed rodents have been sighted at the university during the past seven years, with some students considering the albino squirrel an unofficial campus mascot and a good-luck charm.

Items available for sale at the Willis Library's Cyber Café include tie tack/lapel pin, enameled in green and white and featuring a cameo portrait of one of the squirrels; campaign-style buttons featuring the same portrait, and calendars with discount coupons that can be redeemed at the Cyber Café, which adopted the albino squirrels as its theme earlier this year. Last spring, the café dedicated a photo collage and memorial reliquary to "Baby," UNT's second albino squirrel. "Baby," first spotted in April 2004, was killed by a hawk in August 2006.

The tie tack/lapel pins cost $3 each, with the campaign-style buttons selling for $1. The calendars, which have been sold at the café since September, are available for $12.

In addition to photos of "Baby," the calendars have photos of "Baby's Baby," UNT's newest albino squirrel, who was spotted last spring; and "Thelonius," who became UNT's first albino squirrel after he was spotted around 2000. In response to "Thelonius," a group of students founded the UNT chapter of the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society, which is a collegiate group with members in eight chapters in Canada, England and the U.S.

Although "Thelonius" disappeared around 2003, the UNT chapter stayed active, and now has more than 400 members listed on its web site (http://orgs.unt.edu/asps).

Melody Kelly, associate dean of UNT Libraries, expects the albino squirrel items to sell quickly.

"We've already sold over 150 of the calendars and we received several mail orders from alumni reading about the calendars in the alumni magazine, The North Texan. We are happy to mail the calendars, tie tack/lapel pins and the campaign-style buttons to those unable to come to the café," she says.

Proceeds from the calendar and the other albino squirrel items support the UNT Libraries' Staff Scholarship Fund.

To order a calendar or other albino squirrel gift, send a check or money order to:

Albino Squirrel Calendar & Pins
UNT Libraries' Administrative Offices
P.O. Box 305190
Denton TX 76203-5190

Make the money order or check out to UNT Libraries, and please put the name and quantity of the item in the memo line. Shipping and handling is $1, and please include the shipping address information in the order.

For more information, contact Kelly at mkelly@library.unt.edu.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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