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‘Llama love’ makes its way to Memorial Glade at UC Berkeley, outside Doe Library

It might be the start of Dead Week, but Memorial Glade was more alive than usual Monday afternoon, thanks to four special guests.

Their names? Quinoa, Ollantaytambo, Amigo, and Wykee.

For about four years, llamas have been descending on campus, offering students a much-needed respite from their studies — and soft coats to pet.

Monday’s event, called Return of the Llamas — sponsored by the ASUC’s Office of the Academic Affairs Vice President — drew large crowds of students, who came to pet the llamas and take pictures with them, with some onlookers climbing on each other’s shoulders to get a better vantage point.

“They are an institution,” said George Caldwell, or Geo, who has brought his fluffy friends from Sonora, more than two hours away in Tuolumne County, to the UC Berkeley campus for various events and activities, including events raising awareness about wellness and suicide prevention.

Caldwell teaches classes in Oakland about the ungulates. Afterward, he said, he comes to campus with the creatures “to share the llama love.”

“My whole goal is to have llamas here 365 (days of the year),” he said. “It would be a great thing for people who have stress to go see the llamas.”

Ana Mancia, department head of the Office of the AAVP for the ASUC, has been instrumental in bringing the llamas to campus for the past year and a half — which equates to three rounds of llamas.

“I really hope (students) get the chance to … ease the pressure before finals,” said Mancia, a third-year business major. The llamas, she said, could help students “put things in perspective.”

So how are students reacting to the creatures?

“They’re crazy and fun,” said Wei Zhou, an economics major who was there with her friend Nancy Zhu, an applied math major.

“It’s a good way to de-stress,” Zhu added.

Students pet llamas
Students pet a llama named Quinoa during the ASUC-sponsored Return of the Llamas event outside of Doe Library on Dec. 4, 2107. (Photo by Jami Smith for the University Library)

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