Bears 4 Bae event helps long-distance couple connect

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Courtesy of Cy Jones

Loyola sophomore Cy Jones and her long-distance boyfriend John Lenyk take a selfie during a car ride. Jones has used University Programming Board events such as Stuff a Wolf and Bears 4 Bae to make presents for her boyfriend who she hasn’t seen in five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madeline Taliancich

Sophomore Cy Jones plans to stuff “Al” E. Gator or “Pudge” the Pig at the University Programming Board’s Bears 4 Bae event this Thursday. The event comes just a few days before Valentine’s Day, which gives students a chance to make a bear for themselves or an on-campus crush. Jones, however, is making a gift for a boyfriend she hasn’t seen in almost five months.

Because of the pandemic, Jones and her boyfriend have been dating long-distance since last March. The two have only seen each other three times since Loyola shut down and forced them to go their separate ways.

“We didn’t get to celebrate our one year anniversary together,” said Jones. “I’m hoping that whatever I make for him will be a bonus gift for us being separated for so long.”

This isn’t the first time Jones has utilized an event thrown by the University Programming Board to make her long-distance relationship work. She attended Stuff-A-Wolf last semester which, like Bears 4 Bae, gives students an opportunity to make a stuffed animal for someone special.

“My boyfriend absolutely loved the wolf I made him,” she said.

For Jones, events like these are helping her and her boyfriend stay connected.

“It always makes me smile when I see ‘Wolfy’ on his bed,” she said. “Wolfy” has given Jones’s boyfriend a means of feeling physically connected to her, despite the distance, according to Jones.

Events like Bears 4 Bae can be beneficial to long-distance relationships, according to Tamsen Butler, award-winning author of “How to Make Your Long-Distance Relationship Work and Flourish.”

“In the instance of a long-distance relationship, the obvious benefit of the stuffed bear is a gesture of thoughtfulness,” said Butler.

UPB’s Lagniappe Coordinator Shelbi Bias is accustomed to seeing couples make bears for each other, but was pleased to hear that Bears 4 Bae is helping this long-distance couple thrive.

“UPB’s overall goal is to help students feel happier about attending school and to hear that makes us feel like we’re succeeding in reaching that goal,” she said.

Bears 4 Bae will be held Thursday, Feb. 11 from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the St. Charles Room. Students have the option to stuff “Snowshoe” the Husky, “Brown Patches” Bear, “AL” E Gator, “PanPan” the Panda, “Speedy” the Sloth, “Pudge” the Pig, and “Timber” the Wolf while supplies last.