Since its inception, UVM has rallied behind its fearless mascot, the catamount. However, this symbol of Vermont ruggedness and college pride has started to lose its pizazz, because no one has actually seen a real catamount in Vermont since the 1960s. The only remnant of the species is Greta, that fucked-up taxidermy catamount that spends her days in the Davis Center watching mediocre men suck ass at pool. (And poor RallyCat. He doesn’t even know he’s not real. There’s not a single thought behind those puppet eyes.) The worst part of all is that throughout this bleak, cat-less landscape, UVM admin continues to name things after an animal that doesn’t even go here anymore. Cat Bus. Cat $cratch. Cat Pause. Is it cultural appropriation? Greenwashing? Just a lack of creativity? Who’s to say! But it sure gets the people riled up.
After countless allegations of this sort, a recent announcement from Suresh vows that everything is about to change. A new program in the Rubenstein school now promises to repopulate Vermont with catamounts by 2025, a startlingly fast turn-around time for such a large endeavor. How will they do it? No one knows! Recent reports from inside Rubenstein suggest that the operation is already underway, but participants are strangely refusing to share any information regarding the goings-on of the program. And so, on a secret one-man mission, I’ve decided to uncover this mystery once and for all.
The first step was to blend in. I donned the mandatory Rubenstein uniform (patagonia quarter-zip, cargo pants, and a carhartt beanie) and followed herds of the crunchiest people I could find. I conversed, I mingled, I even went on hikes. When I was certain they thought of me as one of their own, I started collecting intel. Members of the catamount repopulation program, or “Project Greta”, as they called it, had apparently been holding meetings in Aiken after hours. And according to one of my Rubenstein informants, these “meetings” were not for the faint of heart (When I asked what she meant by this she refused me any more details and scurried off into the trees from whence she’d come).
I snuck into Aiken that very night in hopes of coming upon one of these mysterious meetings. Sure enough, in the darkest crevices of the building, I found them. Clothed in hooded drug rugs and chanting in latin, I observed from the door as they dragged an oversized duffel bag onto a table. I watched with dread as they opened the bag to reveal… Gasp! It was Greta! I could see the fear in her lifeless glassy eyes as they strapped her down and began attaching wires to pressure points. One drug rug then made his way over to a massive lever attached to the floor, and with a maniacal laugh, pulled it. Frozen in horror, I watched a surge of electricity rush into poor Greta, causing her muscles to convulse and her limbs to fling around wildly. She broke free of her restraints, and fell with a thump to the floor. Suddenly, she stilled. A hush fell over the room. And then, breaking the silence, an ominous growl sounded. “It’s alive!!” they exclaimed, as the resurrected Greta rose from the floor. Clearly, the only thing scarier than a shitty taxidermy is a shitty taxidermy that’s alive and frothing at the mouth, because before they could even celebrate, Greta was gobbling down Rubensteiners left and right. Screams filled the room as I ran out of that godforsaken building as fast as I could. And that was the last I saw of our once treasured catamount.
Since that fateful night, a fake catamount has filled the void in the Davis Center cage and operations for Project Greta have ceased. But according to legend, Franken-Greta still roams the campus grounds late at night, waiting to devour any Rubenstein students that dare to stray too far from their trees.