Committee continues search for new NU mascot ideas

When the Norwich University men’s hockey team played in the Final Four in 2010 in Lake Placid, many students and spectators noticed that Plattsburgh’s Cardinal mascot was there as well as Elmira’s Eagle mascot. Norwich, however, did not have one.

“The university has off and on had various mascots, but there’s never been an official mascot,” said David Whaley, NU ’76, the vice president of development and alumni relations. “From time to time students and even the president have raised the issue of not having a mascot,” he said.

Although many colleges have an official mascot or symbol to represent their school, it’s been a challenge in the past to determine what mascot would accurately represent Norwich as a whole.

President Richard Schneider of Norwich University asked Whaley to create a committee of students and alumni to help design a new mascot for the NU Cadets, as stated in recent cabinet notes.

“We’ve been going with Old Sarge recently to represent the school, but we can’t really use him because he’s also Texas A&M’s mascot,” Whaley said.

Whaley believes that the point of the committee is to get insight from students and alumni about which mascot to choose.

“The president asked me to do this because I don’t think he was comfortable with saying ‘This is what the mascot will be’ and I definitely wasn’t comfortable with that either,” he said.

“That’s why we asked students and alumni to help decide,” he explains. “We have about 17,000 alums. So I mean, if we became the ‘banana slugs’ for example, our alums wouldn’t really like that.”

Students believe that using Old Sarge as an official symbol for Norwich would be the easiest, but it’s also not very original.

“I absolutely think we should get a new mascot,” said Dennis Brooks, 21, a junior sports medicine and accounting major from Bennington, Vt. “Having the same one as someone else isn’t very unique. We should try and get our own so we can stand out a little bit.”

Abbie Fisher, 20, a sophomore English major from Boston, Mass., agrees with Brooks saying, “Old Sarge is the easiest mascot to choose from, but when has Norwich ever taken the easy way out?”

There are many students across campus that agree that the school should create an official mascot, but there are also other students who believe otherwise.

“We definitely should stick with Old Sarge,” said Kelsey Mattick, 21, a senior nursing major from Albany, N.Y. “He’s absolutely perfect for Norwich, and even though another school uses him, it still represents our school differently.”

According to other students on campus, Old Sarge is the epitome of what Norwich is. “When you look at Old Sarge you see a strong, dedicated man,” said Peter Brennan, 19, a sophomore history major from Burlington, Vt. “That’s exactly what Norwich should be trying to represent: hard working and dedicated students.”

Since there are many people on the fence about what to do with the mascot, a committee is joining forces to find a successful symbol for Norwich.

“Our goal is to come up with a few ideas, share them with the community and get some feedback,” Whaley explained. “Eventually by the end of this school year we hope to make a recommendation to the president.”

The process is spread out through a three-month span and the committee hopes to have a number of ideas by the end of the academic school year, according to Whaley.

This isn’t the first time Norwich has tried to design a new mascot. About three or four years ago, there was a committee that tried to do the same thing, but failed.

“There are many things and challenges we have to be aware of during this process,” said Whaley. “For example, if we make it a person, will it be in uniform or not? Is it male or female? Is it white, black, brown, red, yellow?”

Having an animal as a mascot is easy, he explains. But when it’s a person, it makes it that much harder because you can’t represent everybody in that one person.

“How do we represent everybody?” said Whaley. “I don’t know how we’re going to necessarily solve this or address it, but we will definitely be aware of it.”

This is one of the issues that people in the past have come across while trying to find a new mascot.

“It makes sense that the mascot needs to represent everyone,” Brennan said. “But I’ve been here for two years and still have not heard of anyone complaining about Old Sarge being a white male.”

There are so many different mascots to choose from, but animals (besides a horse) are pretty much out of the question, Whaley said.

“We have to stick with our nickname the ‘Cadets’, that’s one thing we cannot change,” he said.

“I think we should keep the mascot/logo the Cadets,” said Brooks. “Our school’s not like many other schools, so having a mascot that kind of defines us is a good thing.”

Many students, like Brooks, agree with staying with the Cadets, and some even have an idea of their own to use as a mascot.

“If I had to choose one thing to represent Norwich, I would choose Captain America,” said Danny Gogan, 21, a junior criminal justice major Keansburg, N.H. “He’s perfect for our school, and represents everything that Norwich stands for.”

Mattick stated that he felt there are many students across campus that would be open to having Captain America as their mascot.

“I’m not even sure if that’s allowed to have him as a university mascot,” she said. “But we should definitely look into it. He’s perfect.”

Another idea that many students agree with is a horse. The NU athletic logo is a horse and a rider with a saber, therefore some students deem the horse a logical choice.

“If we can’t be Old Sarge, the next best thing would be the horse,” said Brennan. “It’s already in our athletic logo, and as we all know, mascots are representing not only our school, but our athletics also.”

“Mascots represent spirit and the spirit we have for Norwich,” Gogan said. “They pump up the crowds at games and even pump up the team. It will be a perfect addition to our athletics.”


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