By Matthew Sarshik

I sat in silence unsure of what I’d just done.  Surely another halting glance in my rear view mirror would only affirm my anguish.   But like devouring that last slice of pizza, relishing that final drop of wine, or touching Kelvin’s new David Beckham haircut, I simply couldn’t resist.

10 minutes earlier….

Why hadn’t I just been normal and made a normal panic purchase.  Ah, the classic panic purchase.  Well all know it way too well.  That heart-pounding moment when you’re about to hand that CVS cashier the plastic to your Daddy’s heart, and then suddenly a glimmer in the corner of your eye.  The panic purchase.

This time, the panic purchase was different.  It wasn’t the usual efficient pack of eclipse gum, the always-useful mechanical pencil, or any useless accessory with Beyoncé on it.  This panic purchase was black and white, but at the same time, anything but.  I purchased a giant stuffed penguin.  I named him Howard.

At first, my animal-despising roommates weren’t very receptive of my fluffy friend.  I didn’t get it.  It appeared there was a better chance of Syracuse winning the ACC tournament than Howard fitting in.  Had I just ruined the infamous T-122 brotherhood?  Could this possibly be my worst decision since Facebook poking one of my Newhouse professors?

But then everything changed.  Howard not only fit in, but he became a symbol for what SULA is all about.  For those of you living under a rock, penguins are members of spheniscidae family.  But Howard will proudly tell you he’s part of another family.  The SULA family. Howard doesn’t care about Jose’s sleep talking, which I’ve diagnosed as a derivative language between Czech and Redneck Cantonese.  Howard doesn’t mind Kelvin’s Velociraptor impression.  Instead, Howard is focused on reminding us what we are here for.  To begin relationships and work habits that will stay with us for a lifetime, and of course the occasional Happy Feet dance.  It’s amazing a stuffed animal two sections over from the $5 wine coolers could have such a profound impact, but this is SULA and anything is possible.

I’m not quite sure if this post will envisage a job offer or an appearance in a maximum-security facility.   But in either case, I will always have my memories of Howard.