A while back we had a look at various university mascots from the UK and the US.
Two of my favourites remain Artie the Fighting Artichoke of Scottsdale Community College and Anglia Ruskin University’s Ruskin the Rhino.
Since then we have had two rounds of the incomparable World University Mascot Rankings courtesy of Bantshire University which was won this year after a fiercely competitive global vote by Wolfie from the University of Limerick.
A lot of US universities have mascots of course, mainly associated with sports teams. Many of them though are not people dressed in dumb outfits but actually real live animals. For example:
South Carolina Gamecocks have Sir Big Spur as a mascot. Sir Big Spur (originally called Cocky Doodle Lou), is the official live gamecock of the South Carolina Gamecocks, and attends USC football and baseball games. I struggle to see how he can possibly be ‘the most involved mascot’ but I guess the criteria are a bit hazy.
Meanwhile Colorado State Rams have Cam the Ram as their live representative:
The wildly horned Cam the Ram runs apparently runs through the end zone after every Colorado State touchdown at home games. Since first appearing in 1947, Cam has been played by a total of 25 different Rambouillet sheep.
There has been quite a lot of campaigning in recent years to retire some of these live mascots but there are still plenty around. The majority are dogs though rather than more exotic creatures.
And it’s great that many of these mascot dogs are really making an effort to stay in touch with each other in these difficulty times. This recent story reported on a recent Zoom call involving Victor E Bulldog, mascot of Fresno State University, and friends:
Fresno State’s own Victor E. Bulldog jumped on a conference with other college mascots last week as the pups practiced social distancing.
ESPN reporter Adam Amin hosted the video chat with more than a dozen NCAA mascots, including the University of Connecticut’s Jonathan, Butler University’s Butler Blue Four and Victor E. III (who can be seen in the top row of the call).
It appeared Amin had the animals’ full attention as they checked in with one another during the COVID-19 quarantine, until the food arrived.
You can find more about Victor here including his care programme which involves a surprisingly wide range of activities:
Care for Victor E. Bulldog
Victor E. Bulldog is owned by and under the care of the Fresno State Alumni Association (FSAA), for the benefit of Fresno State and the FSAA. The FSAA is responsible for funding the operations of the live mascot operation and associated programs. This includes, but is not limited to:
1) Health and well-being (physical, social, emotional, grooming, etc.)
2) Housing (on-campus and off-campus)
5) Insurance coverage (including medical, liability, life insurance, etc.)
6) Event management, including campus and community appearances
7) Development and implementation of revenue-generating strategies
8) Brand development and management
9) Strategic communications (website, social/new media, print, etc.)
10) Licensing and registration, as necessary
11) Annual operating budget
12) Succession planning
Victor E is charming in his own way I guess and clearly has the strategic comms piece nailed. Still, I do think those dressed up mascots, even artichokes and wolves, are preferable.