Animal- and scientist-shaped 'squeezies' spreading smiles during finals prep week

The fun-shaped squeezies have been a big hit with Iowa State University students. Tables full of these toys have quickly been emptied due to their popularity.

By Whitney Baxter

What do you do with 30,000 animal- and scientist-shaped stress relievers? You hand them out to college students during finals prep week, of course!

Claudia Lemper-Manahl, associate teaching professor in plant pathology and microbiology, recently came into possession of approximately 30,000 fun-shaped, squeeze toy stress relievers. The supply belonged to the Ag Discovery Program, a partnership between Iowa State University and the USDA. Lemper-Manahl is the Iowa State coordinator of the program, and her husband is the USDA Ag Discovery director.

The pair came across the stash leftover from previous years’ orders and wanted to make good use of them. So earlier this week, Lemper-Manahl loaded some in bags and distributed them to offices in Science Hall I, the Advanced Teaching and Research Building and Kildee Hall, as well as College of Agriculture and Life Sciences student clubs.

She thought the supplies left at each location would last awhile, but she was quickly proven wrong. Calls and emails started coming in, some within a couple hours, requesting more squeezies. They’ve been a big hit with the students (and faculty), and rumor has it the squeezies have become “Tik Tok famous,” Lemper-Manahl said.

“These squeezy toys are awesome and brought me more joy than you could imagine,” Emma Guasta, junior in animal science, wrote to Lemper-Manahl in an email.

“These past four days have been so fun,” Lemper-Manahl said. “If all we did was spread some joy and promote positive interaction among students, then we did a good thing.”

Editor’s note: At the time of this story’s publishing, all available squeezies have found new homes.

Emma Guasta, junior in animal science, said the squeezy toys have "brought me more joy than you could imagine."
Danielle Begle, junior in animal science, holds her cow-shaped squeezy toy.