MSU students find comfort in stuffed toys


Claire Bacarella

MSU graduate student Kalei Glozier in his Squishmallows room

Claire Bacarella

When Michigan State University junior Jillian Plant returned to class following the events of Feb. 13, she was greeted by a few familiar faces: Squishmallows.  

The pillow-like stuffed animals were passed out to students at various locations on campus following the tragedy that occurred.  

After receiving two Squishmallows from her writing professor when classes resumed, Plant said the stuffed animals helped her to cope.  

“Holding it during that class was very comforting,” Plant said. “I was still anxious to be on campus.” 

She said it was special to receive a platypus Squishmallow from her professor.  

“They are not the cheapest, so it is very nice for her to buy them for me,” Plant said. 

Plant is not the only one to seek comfort from the squishy animals. According to a 2021 The New York Times article, Squishmallows are taking over. It is a takeover that MSU students are not immune to. 

Graduate student Kalei Glozier is a testament to the comfort of Squishmallows. He has a collection of over 500 Squishmallows with its own room and is a brand ambassador for the company. 

Squishmallows even flew him out to VidCon, an annual convention for fans and online brands, to represent the company. He said he even gets to give input on new Squishmallows before they release.  

“I collect Squishmallows because I want to celebrate all the little joys in my life,” Glozier said. “There is so much fun that goes into going to look for the ones that you want.” 

Not only is Glozier a collector, but he is also a clinical psychologist who understands the benefits of Squishmallows and other comfort items.  

He said he recommends comfort items, like Squishmallows, to clients as something to lean on when they are feeling sad. They make great comfort items because of how cuddly they are, and they can even be used as pillows.  

“And it is something that you can share with other people,” Glozier said. “Social connection is a huge benefit to mental health.” 

Glozier said he has gained more than just the cuddly animals themselves from his time collecting.

“I have built a community of friends around Squishmallows that spans all over the U.S.,” he said. “We text about the new ones that are coming out. And if I am out at a store and I see one that they want, I totally grab it and I send it to them.”  

MSU sophomore Jonathan Clem said he has found that owning his bear Squishmallow, Omar, has allowed him to connect with others.  

“All my friends have Squishmallows,” Clem said. “Omar’s my boy. I ride or die for him.” 

Clem also shared that Omar brought him much comfort in the wake of the MSU shooting.  

“It helped my mental health after the shooting for sure,” Clem said. “I packed my bag, and I packed Omar and snuggled up with him at night.”  

Omar the bear, Jenny the cow or Archie the axolotl—whether students are avid collectors or just have one or two Squishmallows, there is no denying the Squishmallows craze has invaded MSU’s campus.