Will you hug Willy?

With the rain, the student elections and the end of the term, it seems that folks on campus are quite tense. I decided that I should spread a little love to our fair campus. The problem is I don’t like touching people, so I got Willy to spread it for me under the auspices that I was doing a story about older students.

Anonymous student

Pardon me? I’m doing a story on returning students on campus –

Like returning students? I was wondering if I could get your opinion on the matter.
What do you mean returning students?

Like older students, like people in their 40s and stuff, because mainly Portland State is like people in their 20s and late teens. Do you know a lot of people in your classes that are, like, older?
Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t really pay attention.

Well, this is my friend Willy, I have the feeling that a lot of people don’t pay attention to older students and he is kind of an older student. He’s a nice guy. He likes synth-pop like New Order and Human League and stuff. He writes ‘zines and stuff, he’s really an interesting fellow. I was wondering if you’d like to give him a hug.
No thank you. I’m sorry.

Why don’t you want to give him a hug?
Because I have a boyfriend!

Well he’s not going to try anything!
And I’m going to the library now!

Are you sure?
Yes, thank you.


Lindsay Elle

I’m doing a story about older people on campus who are returning students. Do you have any classes with older students?
Yeah, my mom is one of them.

Do think people are kind of like mean to them in any way?
Umm, I think that “impatient” is more the term. I find that non-traditional students speak up more in class and I think that it challenges the students, I guess. I don’t know – people grow impatient with them pretty quickly.

The reason I ask these questions is that this is my friend Willy, he’s a really nice guy, he’s really into synth-pop like New Order –

Have you ever heard New Order?

And he makes ‘zines and stuff – well really, what I want to know is, I don’t think Willy gets enough love, I don’t think he gets enough hugs. Would you be willing to give Willy a hug?
Yeah, I’ll give Willy a hug.

How did that feel?

Willy, how did that feel?
Willy: Wonderful.

That’s wonderful!
Willy: Old friend!

Thank you very much, you’ve done a wonderful service for a kind soul, and thanks a lot!

Random dreadlocked art major girl

Pardon me, I’m doing a story about older students on campus –
How do you know I’m old?

I just want to get your opinion, you look like you’re in your 20s or 30s – around that area
Willy: Beautiful!
You’re buttering me up so I have to do it. My opinion on older students – what about them?

Are there a lot of older students in your classes?
Yeah, I’m an art student, they audit a lot.

Do you find that people are kind of mean to them or kind of rude?
They can be, younger students can be – I’m never – some of my best friends are the people that audit in those classes personally.

The reason I ask is because my friend Willy! (I holler him over.) This is my friend Willy, he’s a returning student to PSU.

I think a lot of people are mean to him and don’t understand him.
Are people mean to you, Willy?
Willy: People are cruel!

PSU can be a pretty cold place to our returning students and I think Willy finds it cold on campus. Willy, do you find at cold on campus?
It’s kind of cold in the rain.
Willy: People are cold!

How sad? What classes are you taking?
Willy: Scandinavian literature and Danish film.

There you go! Try taking an art class, people will love you. I have a ton of art classes that have a lot of returning students. I’m a returning student, actually.

I was wondering, since Willy is so cold, and feels so lonely, I was wondering if we could get a picture of you giving Willy a hug.
What?! (Laughs.)

Yeah, Willy really needs a hug.
I don’t even know Willy! Willy and I aren’t even friends. Willy, you’re not gonna try anything are you?
Willy: No.

Are you a gentleman, Willy?
Willy: I’m the most gentlemanly person on the campus.

You are!
Willy: And the most popular! And the most good-looking!

I don’t care if you’re popular and good-looking, as long you don’t try anything uh – fishy.
Willy: Fair enough.

Hug away!
Ooh, Willy!

Some friend of a friend and Bear, vendor and contributor to Street Roots

What do you think about hugging Willy?
I’ll hug him.

You’re gonna hug Willy?
Sure, why not?

What did it feel like hugging Willy?
It felt like we were hugging, it felt nice and normal.

Does it feel good to bring a little light into Willy’s world?
Of course.

And on such a gray, rainy day to boot?
I agree.

And Willy is not wearing a jacket. Willy could really use that hug.
It keeps him warm.

Bear, vendor for Street Roots interjects: I think hugs are overrated, myself.
It’s ’cause you don’t get enough!

Why do you say that?
Bear: Well, they just don’t do much for me any more.

Why is that?
Bear: I don’t know.

Why don’t you hug Willy?
Bear: No, leave me alone, I’m eating. I don’t want to set this down (his burrito) and hugging doesn’t do anything for me.

Don’t you want to hug me?
Bear: Look at this. Hear this? (Smacks his tongue.) That’s the sound of me eating food.

Well, I know, I know it’s food. If I buy a newspaper will you hug me?
Bear: For five bucks!

I won’t buy one for five bucks, I’ll give you a dollar.
Bear: Alright.

Give me a hug, man!