Students create group chat to document rabbit sightings around campus


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The chat, “nu bunny watching,” has amassed over 230 members since its creation last month.

Catherine Odom, Reporter

Rabbit sightings across campus have sparked students to share pictures and videos in a GroupeMe chat, amassing over 230 members.

The chat, “nu bunny watching,” was created by Medill freshman Frankie Lucco in April. Even though the chat originally started as Lucco and a few friends, it soon became a larger group of students sharing sightings of bunnies on campus, she said.

Lucco said she was inspired to start the group chat after a friend at the University of Illinois told her about the school’s squirrel watching club. Lucco said that one of her favorite parts of the chat is sharing memes and humorous content about the rabbits.

“I like seeing people… making jokes about it and engaging in the space,” she said.

Biology Prof. Gary Galbreath said in an email to The Daily that the bunnies on campus are the Eastern Cottontail variety. These rabbits are “generally prolific” and can be found in the Eastern, Midwestern and Western United States, he said.

Lucco theorized that the rabbits may be more visible on campus this year because there are fewer students than normal due to the pandemic. She noted that rabbits thrive in areas away from human activity, so having fewer students around could encourage them to come out more often.

School of Communication sophomore Natalie Rarick, a member of the groupchat, said she enjoyed participating in bunny watching. She said that her friend added her to the group after she sent her numerous Snapchats of rabbits she saw on campus.

“It just brought me so much joy,” Rarick said. “How can you not like photos of bunnies?”

Weinberg sophomore Josh Ezrol also shares his own bunny content in the group chat.

He said this quarter is his first Spring Quarter on campus and that the prevalence of rabbits surprised him.

“I was very surprised to find just the sheer quantity of bunnies on campus. It’s really like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Ezrol said.

While the chat started out as just a way to share bunny-related content, it has since grown to cover all kinds of wildlife at Northwestern, including geese, ducklings, toads and sparrows. A poll was even created in the chat to name the runt of a litter of goslings at the Lakefill.

According to Rarick and Ezrol, one of the best places on campus to spot rabbits is near the sorority quad on south campus. Rarick also mentioned the Lakefill as a popular location. Bunnies are present throughout campus, especially at dusk, according to Lucco. She added that any secluded grassy or shady areas are also common for sightings.

Rarick said one of her favorite parts of the groupchat is being able to connect with people she would not normally.

“It’s kind of heartening and nice to have this little sense of community,” she said.

Lucco echoed Rarick’s comments about the sense of connectedness the group chat has created during an uncertain and isolating time. As students return to campus and the pandemic winds down, many are looking for ways to relate to their fellow students, even through daily rabbit pictures.

“The important thing about bunny club isn’t really the bunnies,” she said. “I think that there’s some kind of irrational joy in just being able to share.”

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