Trudy Lynn, a student at St. John’s College, has dressed as a panda every day this week to raise money for the Karen Hilltribes trust.
Lynn has been wearing the suit morning and night, only taking it off to shower and sleep.
As well as the suit, she has been wearing full face paints whenever she has left her room.
Lynn commented: “Sure it’s embarrassing, but it’s more the discomfort which is the problem. It’s hot and my face-paints are stopping my skin from breathing and need to be touched up at various points in the day.”
Having foreseen the hygiene implications of wearing the suit for a week, she has allowed herself a single evening off in order to wash the suit.
Lynn says “I generally don’t work in my room, preferring to work in cafés (both college and public) or libraries,which is proving rather embarrassing this week going solo.”
Pandas are known globally as one of the more endangered species, with fewer than 1,000 confirmed animals in the wild.
Lynn is the only known panda in Oxford.
Despite this passers-by are curiously indifferent to the presence of a panda in the streets. Lynn was surprised to find “that walking down Cornmarket, very few people gave me a second glance.”
Lynn is raising money for the Karen Hilltribes trust, a charity which supports the health and education of children who are members of the Karen people in Thailand.
Lynn will be travelling to Thailand this summer for two months to support the trust’s schools and their English classes. This is so that they will be able to cope more easily with the step up to further stages in education and, as Lynn puts it, “break the cycle of poverty.”
All the money she is raising is going directly to the trust itself, as she has already found funds for her flights, vaccinations, and accommodation.
At the time of writing, Lynn had raised £80 excluding sponsors.
She has commented that her favourite parts have been alleviating finalists’ stress, because everybody loves pandas.
Lynn will be attending the Union debate on Thursday, and has also promised to go for a run around University Parks if the total raised reaches £150.
If she raises £250 mid-week, she will go to a club of the donors’ collective choosing, in full panda attire.