Monday, December 30, 2013

Kevin O' Day of SUNY-Cobleskill T4T: Expanding his passion of big cats

Kevin O'Day on far left with other members of T4T
Kevin O’Day is sophomore at SUNY-Cobleskill pursuing a degree in wildlife management. He is also the founder of SUNY-Cobleskill T4T. On December 29, 2013 he sits down with Sean Carnell to talk about the T4T at SUNY-Cobleskill.

Why does all of this matter to you? Why should the American public care about the conservation?

I think that conservation and endangered species are going to be one of the most important issues of the 21st century. If humans cannot learn to live with other species without destroying them, there is really no way that we are going to survive ourselves. I believe that college students have an opportunity to change the world and improve it for all its inhabitants.

How did you find out about Tigers for Tigers and get started?

I found out about Tigers for Tigers from one of my professors. He received an email from the National T4T Coalition last year. Because he know that I am into big cats, he thought that I would be interested in joining. I have always loved big cats, and from there, I started a club this year at SUNY-Cobleskill.

Initially, I wasn’t going to start a club until you contacted me about the importance of developing one on campus. It will make students more aware of the problem. At the beginning it was primarily my friends who I asked to join. Now we are working on expanding our club to other students across campus.

How has your Tigers for Tigers helped you pursue a career and has it helped you develop your passion?

It definitely has expanded my knowledge and interest in big cats. Before Tigers for Tigers, I was primarily interested in big cats in Africa. But getting into tigers, and gaining an understanding of the current situation, it has made me realize that there are more problems for big cats than I knew before. I definitely think that the T4T club will help raise awareness for tigers and help save them from extinction. Specifically for SUNY-Cobleskill, it will be good, because it is a local smaller school, it will provide opportunities for others to get a greater understanding of what is happening in the world outside of New York.

Personally, I believe that the coalition will also allow me to get professional connections, which may help me get a job after college. 

What are your plans after college?

I plan on moving to the Congo rainforest and working in a wildlife park there because I personally believe that it needs the most help in terms of protecting wildlife.

That sounds incredible, although dangerous, very exciting! What are your plans for next semester with T4T?

Next semester, I want to start doing things. This semester we focused on starting our organization. Now, we can start working on fun activities and fundraisers to that people on our campus can become more engaged about tigers and learn how they can help.

Do you have any advice for T4T clubs that are starting out?

I definitely suggest that you find people that truly care and are interested in the issue. It is also important to develop a core group before you expand. In other clubs, you see them get too big too fast and die out because no one is really interested in the subject.

It that is a very important point to address. Developing a core group of students is key to starting an organization at your school. Do you think that Tigers for Tigers is making a difference for tigers?

The idea to get college students involved is great. Focusing on political action and Congress is definitely a way to make a difference to ensure that the people in power, who can make decisions, are aware of the problems faced by these endangered species.

College students are definitely able to influence policy decisions. Mobilizing passionate college students is a great way to maximize the effectiveness and staying power of any movement, especially those that can take advantage of their idealism. Compared to older adults who have other obligations like a job and mortgage to pay, college students, have little to lose and therefore are more likely to try to save a species in a far-off land.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience meeting with Senators and Representatives in Congress from our trip to Washington DC in June with the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the International Fund for Animal Welfare? What was it like?

Going to Washington D.C was a great experience for me. Although the members of Congress and their staff were unaware of the policies that we were there to talk to them about, they seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say and were willing to lend their support to our issues.  It was very inspiring to learn that members of Congress are very receptive to the idea of mobilizing college students to save tigers from extinction and that the coalition has the ability to make a significant positive difference in this endeavor.

About Us:
Students at SUNY Cobleskill have decided to start a Tigers for Tigers club and join the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition because we believe that we have an obligation to save our majestic mascot in their time of need. By raising awareness about the plight of tigers in the wild, we hope to mobilize the public to take responsibility of mankind’s actions and reverse the fortunes of tigers in the wild.

To learn more information about the SUNY Cobleskill Tigers for Tigers, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or email Kevin O’Day at

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sitting down with Lindsey Harvey of LSU T4T

Lindsey Harvey, the founder of LSU Tigers for Tigers sits down with us to talk about her experience starting a Tigers for Tigers club, pursuing her career path and gives advice to new Tigers for Tigers clubs.  Lindsey Harvey is currently pursuing a veterinarian degree from LSU.

Lindsey Harvey and Mike the mascot
How did you go about starting Tigers for Tigers at LSU?

Well I was on WWF’s website and I heard about the Tigers for Tigers challenge that they had years ago and I saw that Clemson, Missouri and Auburn were on it in which people could donate money in their honor to tiger conservation.

I noticed that LSU didn’t have a Tigers for Tigers club. That didn’t make any sense to me. So I decided to go ahead and make it a club! It was a very long process, it took about a year and a half to get it finalized and recruit members. I have to thank other student organizations for putting me in this direction.

Would you give any advice to other Tigers for Tigers clubs that are just starting out?

It is hard to start an organization and I know that I got disappointed when no one would show up to our meetings except for the officers. That may discourage you, but you have to keep at it. It will take a while for your organization to gain recognition on campus and get big. I promise that it will get better.

What impact do you think that you have had in the community?

We hope to help LSU students, and members within our community understand the issue of tigers in captivity and tigers as pets. That is the main issue that we try to focus on, considering that LSU has a tiger is on our campus named Mike. Many students believe that we are trying to get rid of Mike, but that is not the case. He has a great home, one of the best tiger habitats in the country. We want to help people understand that are not trying to get rid of all tigers in captivity, just those who consider them as pets and are in unfortunate conditions.

 We are also trying to save wild tigers. We want to make sure that we will always have a tiger as our mascot. What is the point of having a tiger as your mascot if there are not tigers in the wild?

You have a pretty awesome story about pursuing vet school. Could you tell us more about it?

I never actually wanted to go to vet school until I started getting involved with Tigers for Tigers and I realized how amazing these animals are. That was when I switched from pursing medical school to vet school. I want to help save these animals.

I am still in the process of trying to figure out how I can do the job that I want. I might have to make my own career out of it. My current plan is to do pathology for conservation efforts or go into surgery and assist these animals within sanctuaries.

But, what has been nice, is that I have been able to bring over Tigers for Tigers into the vet school and educate the students about tigers and our activities. Some of the students attend our meetings regularly.

I do get to hangout with Dr. Baker a lot. He is Mike’s vet. He is such a big supporter of us.

Your most recent activity consisted of making an edible cake for Mike. What was that all about? 

We designed an edible cake for Mike on behalf of LSU Tigers for Tigers to generate awareness about tiger conservation and to promote the Save Vanishing Species Stamp. It was also a great way to get our members interested in Tigers for Tigers.

We had a unique opportunity to learn about Mike and tour the facility with Dr. Baker. We learned about the history of Mike and LSU, Mike’s diet, the cost to take care of Mike. It was really awesome, and it was great to have Dr. Baker’s support. It was great opportunity for our members to learn about the cost of taking care of Mike and everything that goes on behind the scenes.

What are some of your plans for next semester?

Next semester we are planning a fundraiser at a local restaurant. We hope to have Mike our mascot, not the real tiger but the one in the costume, participate in the event. People would be able to interact with our mascot and raise money for tigers.

We are also planning a trip to volunteer at a local big cat sanctuary called Yogie and Friends. This facility is non-breeding and does not allow people to interact directly with the animals. We are really looking forward to that and giving back to our community.

About Us:
Tigers for Tigers LSU, founded in 2011, has striven to provide aid and raise awareness to save wild tigers. The organization has attempted to spread the urgency of the tiger situation to the Baton Rouge community with great strides.

To learn more information about the LSU Tigers for Tigers, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.