Black Bear

APU has been a haven for college transfer students over the years. With a variety of degree programs that are attractive to students and active learning as a major academic component of our curriculum, it is easy to see why we have so many students transferring in to APU.

Last fall, we had a unique student arrive on campus and start to hang out, mostly down at the lake, but also on University Row and Segelhorst Hall. Being the new cub on campus is not always easy and Yogi’s attempts to fit in did not always go as planned. Most new students hang out in the Student Center or in Grant Hall, not at the dumpsters. After a few incidents, quite a few community members raised their eyebrows at the thought of such a unique new addition to our neighborhood, but we took an active approach to educating our students and staff about how to interact with our new neighbor.

Yogi made some awkward social decisions that did not go over well with some of our current students. Everyone likes a little privacy and when you start nosing through people’s garbage, they get a little upset about what you are looking for in their trash. Not to mention, the clean-up is not fun either. Typically you do not gain point for stealing pizza from other on-campus students. Not leaving a tip for the driver is not considered to be good manners either.

After repeated attempts to make friends, the bear loped off campus as the days began to get shorter and the nights a lot colder. We often wondered if the bear would be back again in the spring, as it clearly wanted to become part of the APU family and be an actual student here.

Upon further investigation and in talking with Student Financial Services, we found out that the bear did not even file a FAFSA or supply a social security number to get the financial paperwork started. “It all seemed kind of fishy to me,” stated Molly Ritterbeck. “We want to work with anyone who applies, but there are some basic things we need to even begin to come up with a financial aid package.” Lacking important paperwork like that, can be a tough barrier to getting enrolled, but come to find out, there were some even bigger issues with even trying to get admitted to APU.

The Admissions office had a tough time, trying to help Yogi out. “Without a permanent address and High School transcripts, my hands are tied,” professed Barclay Roeder, Director of Admissions. “Our office is dedicated to streamlining the process for admission, but our process only works if you cooperate with us and give me something to work with. At this time no bears will be admitted to the university.”

Not to be deterred and in a great example of tenacity, the bear decided that it would apply again this summer. Yogi showed up in May and decided that the tent platforms were a neat place to take up residence. Cost effective and out of the way, Yogi began to stake out his own space on campus, but soon became disruptive and territorial after getting the same responses about not having the necessary requirements to being admitted to our school. Apparently UAA was not too excited about Yogi’s transcript as he was not admitted over there either. While you want to feel for the bear, there are barriers in place to monitor progress for a reason. It brings up the age old question, should everyone have access to Higher Education, no matter the pre-requisites?

Most recently Yogi has been seen hanging around Grant Hall, as it looks like his appeal will have to go to the President’s office. So while we try to accommodate this potential student as much as we can, please do not approach Yogi as it is a very emotional time for him and we are not sure of his intentions. The public opinion has been quite positive about him, but make sure to keep your distance and please dispose of all trash properly as Yogi tends to locate food that is left out overnight on campus.