Seal becomes face of a positive message

Brendan Wynne

Making his way across campus, Ryan Lee, sophomore in psychology, can’t help but notice the glances and somewhat confused expressions he receives. He can’t quite put his finger on what it is that prompts such attention, but considers the prospect that it may not be him the other students are looking at. It’s his friend, Robert.

Robert, the ceramic seal.

Robert, the ceramic seal, poses for a photo with his favorite drink. His handler, Ryan Lee, sophomore in psychology, says Robert always enjoys studying with friends. Photo by Ryan Lee.

Robert, the ceramic seal, poses for a photo with his favorite drink. His handler, Ryan Lee, sophomore in psychology, says Robert always enjoys studying with friends. Photo by Ryan Lee.

“Robert is a ceramic seal. He’s my friend,” Lee said. “He’s here to help, really. That’s the best way to put it. He’s the face of an idea.”

Lee, who said he’s always been a fan of community service, wanted to find something that could be the face of a positive message.

“I didn’t find Robert. He found me,” Lee said. “There’s more than enough negativity in the world and across social media. I really wanted something that could serve as an image for positivity. It could’ve been me, or any student for that matter, but most people won’t stop to look at the tweets from some random kid. It’s kind of hard to miss a tweeting, ceramic seal.”

Robert, who now has more than 100 followers on Twitter, has become more of an icon than Lee initially expected.

“I honestly have no idea how something like that happens,” Lee said. “It really is a good thing, though. I take Robert with me to just about every volunteer event that I go to, so it’s really nice to see that he’s gained that kind of following. I mean, it’s a point where if people see me, they’re looking for Robert. I’m jealous of a ceramic seal.”

Robert, a self-proclaimed spiritual advisor and environmental enthusiast, has managed to reach out to some students.

“He makes me chuckle,” Emily Fisher, freshman in mathematics, said. “He’s cute, and he’s positive. There’s nothing wrong with something like that. It’s pretty necessary, these days.”

Though Robert may not be “hanging around” with Lee for much longer, he said he has every intention to keep the seal around long enough to partake in Halloween festivities.

“There was a poll on Twitter to determine what Robert should be for Halloween,” Lee said. “He usually sports his trademark red ascot, but he’s a festive guy. Right now it looks like he’s going to be ‘global warming,’ and I have no idea what that looks like.”

However, Lee said he has one specific goal for Robert before the ceramic seal returns to the shelf.

“A selfie with Shipley,” Lee said. “If I can get Robert to take a selfie with the president of the university, I’ll be just fine. Robert’s already exceeded my expectations for him, so why not go all out?”

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