The Fighting Squirrels
The Fighting Squirrels team nickname is inspired by the squirrel featured in the family crest of MBU namesake Mary Julia Baldwin.
Fighting Squirrels are courageous, dynamic, and authentic, capturing the spirit of Mary Baldwin University and its students.
Baldwin the Fighting Squirrel is the official mascot of MBU Athletics. Baldwin appears at MBU athletic events, as well as other campus and community events. If you would like Baldwin to appear at a campus or community event, please email your request to email@example.com and allow 48 hours for a response.
Baldwin was born high in the high branches of the oak tree that stands midway between Wenger and Carpenter Halls. Their nest was a happy place made comfortable by the twigs and leaves collected from all over campus. Their parents and siblings would often play in the soft grass and watch people going in and out of the buildings, though Baldwin themselves was too young to venture from the nest.
That all changed on a dark night in early September when a thunderstorm struck downtown Staunton. The family pressed against one another as the winds and rain lashed against their oak. The gusts turned to howls until finally the branch that had been Baldwin’s home gave way. Baldwin was too small to see over the wreckage to where their parents and siblings had been scattered. The storm swallowed their cries. They managed to pull themselves into what remained of the nest as thunder pealed overhead.
The next morning, a Mary Baldwin student on her way to breakfast in Hunt happened to spot a shock of furry tail poking up from a mound of branches. Among a ruined nest lay Baldwin, soaked and trembling. Unwilling to abandon them, the student tucked Baldwin into her coat pocket and took them back to her dorm. She fed them and sheltered them and healed their cuts and scratches.
Baldwin grew. Sometimes they would accompany the student to class, careful to keep unseen and unheard as they peeked out from the top of her book bag. Other times, they would spend the day scampering around campus with the other squirrels, playing and exploring and searching for their family before returning to the student’s dorm room at night. Baldwin slept beneath the student’s bed in a nest made of twigs and leaves laid inside a shoebox.
Several more students along with a few faculty members and staff went on to adopt Baldwin over the years until they were finally able to live on their own. But they haven’t left Mary Baldwin. In fact, they see campus as their home and the people here as their new family. A life lived alongside Mary Baldwin students and staff as well as the wildlife around campus has made them a kind of living magic that embodies all of the qualities that Mary Baldwin holds dear — part squirrel, and part something More.
In many ways, Baldwin’s outward personality reflects their squirrely nature. They’re cheerful and driven by a curiosity that reflects a sharp intelligence. They possesses a playful nature, almost mischievous, and enjoy playing innocent pranks whenever they can. But above all else, Baldwin is friendly. Strangers are simply friends they haven’t met. They’re always seeking people out, always trying to make others laugh or set them at ease. When Baldwin is there, everyone feels better.
Baldwin’s movements are fluid and athletic; they’re always ready to turn in any direction. They will stretch out their paws to everyone they meet, offering a hug, a paw-shake, or a paw-five. Each of Baldwin’s movements are designed to spark a smile.
Being part squirrel, they also have an affinity for food — especially wanting to hoard food. Baldwin will always drift to the nearest bag of chips or dinner plate and, as a callback to their mischievousness, will even try to sneak that food out of the person’s hand. They always return what they’re successful at pilfering, often with a sorrowful expression — one paw to their head, the other waving out in front, as if not only apologizing for the act, but for being unable to help themselves.
Baldwin will always hurry to approach anyone wearing a Mary Baldwin article of clothing that bears the spirit mark, pointing to it and then themselves, thinking that person may be one of their siblings who was lost in the storm.
Being a social creature, Baldwin loves crowds. They are drawn to any activity and seek to make themselves part of any gathering. And as they have a great fondness for play, they’re also a fervent sports fan, often mimicking the actions that MBU athletes make on the field or the court.
Since they’re not that far removed from their own childhood, Baldwin also loves the company of children. They will greet a child before anyone else, holding their paws out and always crouching down to their level to look them in the eyes. When children scratch their nose or ears, their leg will often twitch.
And, of course, food. Baldwin loves food.
Just like everyone else, Baldwin still carries childhood scars. They’re nervous of the wind because of what happened to their original family and will seek comfort from children whenever the skies are dark. Children always make Baldwin feel better. And much like their propensity to snatch away food, their instinct is to be leery of birds of prey, cats, and other natural predators (though not dogs; Baldwin has been around people long enough to like dogs as much as they like kids).
Because of their territorial nature, Baldwin does not like to see anyone wearing clothing that depicts any university or college other than MBU. They will point to a shirt or sticker that they see and shake their head in a sad or disappointed way, or wave a paw in front of their nose as if something stinks.