Imagine this: you’re trudging across campus on a gray Pittsburgh Wednesday when suddenly you hear the words “Happy Hump Day!” coming from somewhere near the Fence. As you glance up you see the one and only Carnegie Camel prancing around the Cut and brightening people’s days. Well folks, the illusion is finally shattered! The renowned Carnegie Camel is none other than our very own Abby Smith.
Abby started the Carnegie Camel the September of her sophomore year. Her best friend (and current front half of the camel) were sitting in their living room when they suddenly thought about how hilarious it would be if someone on campus were to dress up in a camel suit and scream “Happy Hump Day!!” to bystanders. “We decided to splurge on the costume on Amazon,” Abby says, “The rest is history.”
Since then, Abby has seen countless people shift from grumpy scowls to big smiles as they walk between classes and see the camel on campus. According to Abby, the “front” and “back” of the camel feed off of each other’s energy, yelling at tired freshmen and dancing near the Doherty tablers. “Sometimes I like to think that my own positive attitude, even towards the tough part of a routine week, can make the biggest impact on our campus embodied through the one and only Carnegie Camel,” Abby says.
Visibility is poor inside the camel costume, with only a 1-centimeter viewing hole for the hump. One of Abby’s favorite stories about the camel: “A Catholic priest that I know was on campus. He approached the camel and said, “What are you, a horse?!” Not knowing who I was speaking to, I yelled back “What are you, an idiot?!” Before we could make a quick exit, the front half of the camel said, “Hey Abby, aren’t you part of the Catholic Newman Club?” Perfect time to shuffle away.”
Since the camel’s debut two years ago, it has made appearances in lecture halls, struggled down the Doherty Stairs, and socialized with friends in the Cohon University Center. It even hunted for jobs at the Career and Professional Development Center fairs! The camel’s most recent appearance was at the Donut Dash; although it didn’t eat any donuts, it still managed to jog the entire race.
Although Abby and her “front half” enjoy cheering people up with their camel costume, she’s also involved in lots of other activities on campus. Abby is currently a member of Project Rwanda, a student-led initiative that aims to establish connections between CMU Pittsburgh and CMU Rwanda. The goal of the project is to help establish digital literacy and create educational opportunities for children in the developing country. The primary school children are all given laptops that are rugged, low-cost, low power and come pre-installed with software for kids to engage in collaborative, self-empowered learning. Together with a group of CMU Rwanda students, Abby and her team led a two-week workshop on how to use the laptops. “It was absolutely incredible to see how far the country has come in the past 20 years to become a very tech-forward and progressive nation” Abby says, “The trip also gave a new meaning to Carnegie Mellon’s global role.”
Outside of Project Rwanda, Abby has also been a dedicated member of the CMU Cross Country team since she was a freshman. She ran in the CMU invitational last weekend, finishing the 5K race in 21:50! WOW, SO FAST! She’s also a campus tour guide, and Orientation Leader for Donner, and a member of Circle K, an international service organization that does a wide range of service projects. On top of all this, she teaches a jump rope StuCo every Wednesday night. Abby was on a competitive jump rope team for 12 years growing up; her team performed across the nation and will be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year!
When she’s not involved in extracurricular activities, Abby enjoys running in Frick Park with the cross country team, having Schatz brunch with her friends, and getting involved in Carnival shenanigans during the spring semester. “Just in general, I have loved the community here,” Abby says, “especially people who aren’t afraid to adventure and be goofy with me.”
Photo sources: Facebook.com