A large crowd of approximately 200 students waited in line in the 30-degree, freezing December air outside of Faber Hall at 10 p.m. on Saturday. They chatted excitedly, awaiting the annual tradition of Stuff-a-Stag, a South Side Café event run by Fairfield @ Night.
The event, which began in 2013, has since become a Fairfield tradition and the most attended South Side since its inception, with about 300 students attending each year. Over 300 students attended this year’s Stuff-a-Stag, according to Nicole Fede ‘16, co-lead program strategist of South Side Café.
Elizabeth Elliott, program coordinator for the Office of Student Engagement, commented on why she believes this event is so much more popular than the others.
“It’s right near the end of the semester,” she said. “It’s one last fun thing for students to do before finals. Also, everyone loves a good teddy bear.”
Sophomore Jacqueline Ferreri, who did not attend the event last year, decided to come because she wanted to stuff a husky.
“I think it’s a really fun idea,” she said. “It’s like Build-A-Bear, but for college students.”
Fede added, “I think people just like doing Build-A-Bear. It gives them something to bring home with them.”
Fede was on the team that had the idea to begin Stuff-a-Stag three years ago. This team also comprised of her fellow co-lead program strategists Adrian Perkowski ’16 and Eric Lynch ‘15.
“We thought it would be a good, holiday-themed event,” Perkowski commented. “This is our third year doing it, and it’s always been a big success.”
Students braved the chilly weather to enjoy the holiday-themed decorations, music and food. They made their own stuffed stags, whales, bears, giraffes, tigers, polar bears, penguins or huskies.
Party People is the company who provides the animals, stuffing and miniature T-shirts for the event. The company provides 500 stuffed animals each year, which has proven to be sufficient, although there is not always enough stuffing for all of these animals. This year, extra stuffing was ordered to try and ensure that all of the animals got stuffed. However, even this proved not to be enough as, like last year, towards the conclusion of the event at 2 a.m., a few students had to be turned away when stuffing ran out, according to Fede.
Students who did not want to bring their animal home had the option to donate their stuffed animals to the Teddy Bears with Love drive, also an annual tradition.
Teddy Bears with Love was founded in 1999 by the Student Alumni Association for Fairfield students and alumni to donate new, unused teddy bears to a local children’s charity or to make one for the children to send to the charity.
South Side Café is held on Saturdays in the lounge of Faber Hall. Typically, around 100 students attend, according to Fede and Perkowski.
In speaking on South Side, Fede said, “It’s a fun environment. A lot of schools don’t have this sort of thing. So it’s a cool, different setting where students can come and relax.”
“There should be five more South Sides this spring, so keep an eye out for those,” Fede added.