CMU Ducks

If you’re going about business on campus and happen to spot a particularly hidden rubber duck, think twice before assuming it’s just someone’s lost bathtub toy.

Claire and Katie*, two CMU students, have the answer that everyone on campus is asking: what’s with the ducks?

“I bought just four rubber ducks for our bathroom, as a prank,” Claire states. “But then my roommate insisted we buy more, and then we formulated the idea of CMU Ducks.”

There are “scavenger hunts” similar to CMU Ducks in other parts of Michigan, and for those who can attest to finding one of these trinkets, it brings a sense of community pride and interconnectedness. I asked the two founders to give insight as to why this idea came to mind:

“Seeing a duck can just brighten someone’s day. The oddity of finding a rubber duckie in the wild can really bring a smile to someone's face and re-hiding it for others can relieve the stress of academics.”

Currently, there are about 40 ducks located around campus. Each duck is individually named and encourages finders to upload and tag pictures with each duck on both Twitter and Instagram. (check them out at @CMUDucks to see current pictures)

The founders of CMU Ducks hopes that by using social media, they will be able to spread the word about their message and encourage others to go out and look for ducks themselves.

“The names of the ducks being included in each post allows us to see how many times each duck has been found and posted online. We hope that someday, everyone on campus will be keeping an eye out for these rubber duckies.”

This scavenger hunt isn’t a free-for-all, however. Although all CMU students are encouraged to search for and relocate ducks on campus, there are specific rules regarding where and how ducks can be re-hidden.

“We ask that when re-hiding the ducks, you hide them somewhere on campus. We also ask that you take the time to post a picture (via Instagram or Twitter) of where you found the duck hidden, or if you prefer you can upload a picture of where you hid the duck as hint to other people out there searching. Finally, tag @CMUDucks in the post so we can see that you found one!”

The coolest thing about CMU Ducks? As it has started to take off, the founders of this idea don’t look for recognition for their work and have asked to remain anonymous in this article. To them, it’s about something bigger than themselves.

“Keeping CMU Ducks anonymous allows everyone to feel like they’re equally contributing. While we may hide the ducks to begin with, it’s up to students on campus to keep it going by re-hiding the ducks.”

As the academic year starts up once again, the founders of CMU Ducks are looking to brighten everyone’s day, one duck at a time. Their goal for the future is to inspire other schools to hide their own ducks and promote the idea that such a big, diverse campus has the ability to be connected by even the smallest of things.

*Names have been changed to protect identity