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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2016)– A group of Purdue students are changing the culture on campus and showing what it means to be accepting of others. They refer to themselves as “furries.” We talked to them about the significance of walking around campus in a fur suit– even if it’s not Halloween.

Purdue student “Luna”  dresses in a fur suit as a fox. She puts on her fur suit and channels her “fursona.” She’s apart of the Purdue Anthropomorphic Animal Club.

“People who wish to put on fur suits and explore more of the aspects of being an animal with human characteristics,” said faculty advisory Sean McLane.

Luna doesn’t speak while in her fur suit, but she channels a more playful, outgoing personality.

Furries aren’t new to Purdue. They were on campus a couple of years ago, but were bullied so much they decided to stop suiting up. But Luna and her friends are giving their passion another shot.

“For my character it’s almost an extension of my being. It’s somebody that I wish I could be so I kind of strive to be like my character,” said furry Jared Wulfe.

Furries have gained the reputation for feeding a fetish or using this art form in a sexual fashion, but this group says they’re here to dispel that myth.

“Furry is not exclusively a fetish. It’s an expression of creativity. While there are people who get into the adult fetishy things that’s not what it’s all about,” said McLane.

Jared, who channels a character named “Cinder,” feels more comfortable in social settings when he’s in character.

“After creating this personality I wanted to achieve I got to be more active in speaking. I like to go out and meet new people,” said Jared.

Community Health Network counselor Kimble Richardson says being in an accepting environment plays a huge role in the furry fandom culture.

“You find that other people like it too they’re very accepting. You don’t have to continue to explain it or feel strange or ostracized,” said Richardson.

The furry community will host a convention in Indy this summer. For more information on IndyFurCon, click here.