Kim Stewart, the diversity recruitment specialist in administrations, talks to her pet fish Marsha, which lives in the admissions office. Stewart adopted Marsha during New Student Days at the beginning of this semester. Stewart’s co-workers also received (Amanda Wheeler)

By Joe Montgomery

During New Student Days, which took place in early August, workers handed out door prizes as gifts to anyone who attended. One of the prizes was goldfish, which was given out in a little bowl. And one fish stuck it out in the same bowl it was handed out in three months ago. The fish’s name is Marsha. It was named after a counselor in the administration department. Kim Stewart, the diversity recruitment specialist in administrations, is Marsha’s owner.

When Stewart entered the room where Marsha was kept last week, the fish pushed its nose against the bowl to greet her. It was like a puppy running to welcome its owner home. Marsha swam energetic around the little bowl. A pink treasure chest and colored rocks filled the bottom of the bowl.

Stewart said she was amazed by her own attraction to Marsha. She never felt so connected to a pet before.

She said when she first received Marsha, she was reluctant to keep the fish because it was tiny and silver, and all the others were more robust and golden. But something told Stewart to keep it.

Members of the office staff got their own fish at New Student Days, and none of them, except Marsha, survived the week.

“I think it’s alive because we care for it,” Stewart said.

Everyone in administration enters Stewart’s cubicle to talk to Marsha, leaning toward the bowl and speaking baby talk into the glass, she said.

“And I don’t let people talk bad to her,” Stewart said.

Marsha, the runt of the litter, seems determined to stick it out through the semester, which is more than can be said for many of the freshmen who attended New Student Days along with Marsha.

Stewart and her coworkers joke that this little fish has lasted longer than many of the students who started this fall semester.