On the second floor of the Fullerton College’s library are friendly library assistants ready to lend a helping hand. If one may have any questions about where to find that book needed for a research paper or to see if that novel that needs to be read during the last two weeks of the semester is checked out, they are there to help.
However, some of the faculty have much more knowledge other than where to locate books.
Take Betsy Murray for example. One of many library assistants who is coming up on her tenth year with her fellow Hornets. Murray has a vast amount of knowledge on an animal that nobody may have ever suspected. Opossums.
But it isn’t just knowledge she has about these intriguing animals, she has an endless amount of love towards them.
“They are the perfect backyard little neighbor and they are just so darn cute,” Murray said.
Murray’s passion toward these animals began about 25 years ago when she attended a meeting for her children’s school.
Some parents at the meeting were discussing how much they disliked opossums. Murray wondered why they felt this way towards opossums and wanted to defend the animals.
However, she realized she didn’t have the knowledge to fight for the furry animals. She wanted facts to back her up and started studying.
She researched and studied the animal, finding all sorts of interesting facts such as how they remove ticks from plants, how they’re harmless when left alone with other animals or humans, and they are constantly on the move.
The more Murray read on opossums, the more she fell in love with them.
“Now, if someone says something negative towards opossums, I have all the ammunition and knowledge to educate them,” Murray said.
Murray began getting involved in orphan care, rehab and joined The Opossum Society of the United States who are dedicated to protect and preserve the opossum.
Even Murray’s family are involved and she feels lucky to have such supportive loved ones by her side.
The working faculty around Murray have also supported her through her journey. They sometimes make a bit fun of it, but in the end, they know that is what she loves.
“Betsy has a lot of compassion towards all students and wildlife,” Acquisition Librarian Monique Delatte Starkey said. “This is just another facet of what makes her an interesting person.”
Murray speaks about opossums whenever she gets the chance. She says she can go for hours if she’d like. She has been speaking to groups outside of school who ask for speakers who know about opossums. Whenever there is an audience for her, that’s her chance to step in the doorway.
The flow of knowledge never ends for Murray and she even knows it can be overwhelming.
“If we were at a cruise together, you probably wouldn’t want to sit with me at the dinner table two nights in a row,” Murray said.
With all the power of knowing about the opossums, Murray’s one goal is to pass that information along and make a difference for at least one opossum.
One of the fondest moments Murray could recollect was about a student preventing her father from harming an opossum that was in their backyard.
The student was able to stop her father from harming the animal, and she didn’t have to use any type of physical force to do so.
“She was able to disarm with knowledge and educate him on these wonderful little creatures”, Murray said.
Even to this day, Murray gets a bit choked up from that story. Murray always feels a sense of happiness and pride when she knows she made a difference. In her mind, one person can make a change.
Murray shares that “If you’re going to be known for something, might as well be known for something you are good at and feel good about.”