Phillip: Groundhog Turned Local Campus Celebrity

Athens is this beautiful little town in Southeast Ohio that Ohio University students call home. But as students know, campus is basically in the middle of nowhere and is surrounded by hills and forests. This landscape is an outdoor lover’s dream. Its location causes Ohio University to be the home of many woodland creatures including squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons and deer.

But there is one animal that might come close to having as much fame as Rufus the Bobcat, and he is the campus groundhog. The campus groundhog has become a celebrity on OU’s campus. Even though most of the time students refer to him (or her? No one really knows) as “the campus groundhog." One Ohio University student on Facebook by the name of Meghan Marie says his name is Phillip. “If anyone ever tells you another name, they are lying.” So we will refer to him as Phillip.

But how did Phillip earn a name and his fame status? Well, Phillip can usually be found on West Green, somewhere in the grass between Boyd Dining Hall and Richland Avenue. But what makes this ground hog so special is his friendliness towards people. If you ever watch OU’s Snapchat story, he is often seen interacting with students. He will eat out of student’s hands, sit on their laps, or simply let students sit right next to him without any fear.

There is just something so fascinating about Phillip being so comfortable around people. I mean I thought only Disney Princesses could do that? Most of the animals, especially the squirrels, do nothing but run. Not Phillip. His trust in humans could have something to do with the amount of food students feed him. Phillip is known to eat anything and everything given to him, food ranging from bananas and apples, to chicken nuggets and ice cream.   

But how could you not give this cute little face a bite of your lunch?

Photo courtesy of OU's Snapchat story

Ohio University student Angela Suttles said she watches OU’s Snapchat story hoping to see pictures of him. “He’s just so cute,” Suttles said.

But cute little Phillip also has been known to have a mischievous streak. Ohio University student Jackie McCrea said Phillip took a girl’s flip flop once. Who knows, Phillip may have a collection of student belongings in a secret burrow somewhere.

After learning about the infamous groundhog, I made it my mission to find him. Of course I wouldn’t leave to find him without something to feed him (I went with an apple, something healthier than chicken nuggets I would say). However, with my luck, both days I went looking for him he was nowhere to be found. OU’s Snapchat story will have to be good enough for now. Every celebrity needs a break once in awhile!

Photo courtesy of OU's Snapchat story

If you see Phillip, tweet us your pictures to @hercampusohiou and use the hashtag #FoundPhillip.