Eastern students talk Groundhog Day

Austen Brown, Reporter

Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog entrusted with the duty of predicting the weather, apparently foresees an early spring, as he did not find his shadow on Sunday. 

However, not many Eastern students trust the rodent to predict the weather and are slow to believe the animal’s prediction. 

Ben Drake, a sophomore history with teacher licensure major, is one such skeptic.

“I’m not really a big believer in … superstitions,” Drake said, affirming that he does not believe the groundhog prediction holds much weight. 

He did not go as far as to denounce the tradition, though, as it has been an annual custom for centuries. 

Drake said he thinks “traditions are good” and the tradition should still be honored even if the result is not always accurate. 

He said the reason the tradition has lasted so long is the lightheartedness of the holiday. 

“It’s a groundhog,” Drake said. “Groundhogs are cute.”

Drake said there is no harm in continuing the celebration, but that the groundhog’s prediction should not be heeded above that of actual meteorologists. 

Bobby West, a sophomore pre-med major, had a different idea of what was keeping the centuries-old tradition alive amid technological advances in meteorology. 

West asserted the idea that the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, the association tasked with taking care of Phil the groundhog and promoting Groundhog Day, is out to make money. 

He compared the situation to cancer research, claiming that there is likely a cure for most forms of cancer that has yet to be released so hospitals can continue to charge cancer patients for treatment. 

Regardless, West said there is no harm in continuing the tradition. 

“Don’t fix it if it’s not broken,” West said. 

Cori Hoekstra, a freshman special education major, agreed that the groundhog’s prediction has no correlation with the weather. 

She said the purpose of Groundhog Day is antiquated and we have no reason to acknowledge the prediction in the 21st century. 

Hoekstra said Groundhog Day has lasted so long simply because of the place that tradition holds in our society. 

“I don’t think there’s any harm in celebrating (Groundhog Day),” she said. “It’s a tradition, and in America we tend to hold on to our traditions.”

Angela Risinger, a freshman 2D studio art major, said the groundhog’s prediction might have some credibility, as it predicted an early spring on a day on which the weather was warmer for this time of year. 

However, Risinger also noted that temperatures are expected to drop on Tuesday and that perhaps this prediction was a fluke. 

Brenden Applegate, a freshman accounting major, said he usually only observes superstition when it comes to sports and he has a tough time accepting the hypothesis that a rodent could predict the weather.

Austen Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]