Instead of candid shots of students around Main Campus, or run-of-the-mill publicity shots for the Temple Made campaign, TUPortal is sporting a new, decorative banner featuring a collection of owl figurines that may come from an unexpected source.
The varied collection of Hooter’s kinfolk belongs to Brian Forman, who is executive director of Temple’s Computer Services, a Temple alumnus and an avid owl figurine collector.
His collection extends much beyond what TUPortal users can see when they log into their accounts. He owns a collection of more than 70 owl figurines. A selected group of these are displayed in Forman’s office, which was discovered as pictures were being taken for the Temple Facebook page.
After coworkers became aware of his diverse owl assembly, a colleague who works on the TUPortal site suggested it be featured on the display banner.
“There [were] 24 likes on the photo, I believe that’s an all-time high for the TUPortal page,” Forman said. Currently, there are 25.
Forman said collecting runs in his family.
“[I have] an aunt who used to collect [ceramic] chickens. I thought, ‘What should I collect?’ And I’m a Temple Owl, so owls [were the answer],” Forman said.
However, not all love for owls on Temple’s campus is expressed through collection. Maryanne Hayde, a senior communications major and RA in 1300, said in her experience, “[If you] put an owl in front of anything, Temple students get excited.”
College mascots often instill significant pride in their students, no matter how unusual they may be, like the North Carolina School of the Arts’ Fighting Pickle.
At Temple, students have the fighting owl Hooter to rally behind and incorporate into their décor. Hayde remembered a friend who has owl jewelry, along with owl potholders and other accessories.
Owl themes are common, and a staple among dorm furnishings, students said.
Marissa Rubin, a freshman anthropology major, went the traditional Temple-pride route, hanging posters from every Temple game on one of her walls.
Another freshman, environmental studies major Samantha Schuetz, said she had an extensive list of owl-themed products.
“I have two owl mugs, dangly owl earrings, an owl clock necklace, an owl body pillow, an owl backpack and an owl shower curtain and waste basket,” Schuetz said.
Those with a passion for owls can easily fuel their desire to embrace the theme with clothing, accessories and household items. Many stores use owl designs in all of these products, often considered chic by shoppers.
“I always thought owls were pretty cool, I already had half my owl stuff before picking a college, but being a Temple Owl gave me a reason to find more,” Schuetz said.
Infatuation for the nocturnal bird can be more than simply based on school pride, but an expression of style. On the online community marketplace Etsy, where people can buy and sell clothing, accessories and décor, searching the word “owl” produces more than 160,000 items that can be bought.
Urban Outfitters also carries multiple owl accessories and home furnishings, like pillows, cookie jars and shower rings.
Some students said they enjoy the ability to incorporate both of these displays of owl love into their lives.
But if collecting were actually something of interest to any students, they would do well to note Forman’s strategy for accumulation.
“I find them in my travels and a lot of family and friends who are out and about will buy them for me,” Forman said on how he has managed to develop such a collection.
But that doesn’t mean Forman hasn’t endured his fair share of teasing for his collecting habits.
“I saw a tweet from a student who said the collection was creepy, and must belong to an old lady,” Forman said.
Taking the tweet in stride, Forman said it does not discourage him from displaying his owl figurines.
“I don’t wanna play favorites,” Forman said about his owl collectibles. “I like them all.”
Erin Edinger-Turoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.