University wants a mascot, survey says

What’s a Blugold?

The age-old question may soon be answered. A recent survey of students, faculty and staff, alumni and donors showed 69 percent of respondents are in favor of implementing a mascot at UW-Eau Claire. After such a high turnout, the results are obvious – Eau Claire wants a mascot.

“(The survey) was overwhelmingly in favor (of a mascot),” said John Bachmeier, director of Alumni relations. “Eau Claire will have, for the first time ever, a sanctioned mascot.”

The survey had nearly 7,000 respondents, Bachmeier said. Questions on the survey included if Eau Claire needs a mascot, if it will impact school spirit and where funding for the mascot should come from.

Bachmeier is part of the Eau Claire Mascot Committee, which consists of all players that were sent the survey, he said. The group was formed as a result of a Student Senate resolution passed last spring in concern with the lack of a mascot, according to a March 2008 article in The Spectator. Since the group was started, it has been the key organizer for sending out the survey and is now taking the next steps in the mascot-forming process.

Several past attempts have been made at naming a mascot for Eau Claire, but none were ever “officially” sanctioned by the university, Bachmeier said.

Bachmeier said some are concerned that with a new mascot, Eau Claire would no longer be the Blugolds. But the Blugold name is here to stay.

“We will always be the Blugolds, but we will have a mascot,” he said. “Will it be named? Maybe … probably.”

Sophomore Shane Dawson took the survey and was part of the percentage in favor of a mascot.

“I think that we need a mascot,” Dawson said. “When someone asks me ‘what is a Blugold’ I have to tell them I don’t really know, or that it is just the colors of our school.”

Dawson said having a mascot will make athletics more entertaining.

“It makes it more fun at games when there is a mascot doing dances and such,” he said. “You can’t have colors dance, and they aren’t intimidating to other schools either.”

The next steps include determining where funding for the mascot will come from, Bachmeier said. While no decision has been made, 66 percent of survey respondents favored funding by private donations, he said.

Aside from funding, the issue of choosing the mascot itself is next on the list of priorities. Some form of a contest was suggested as a way to determine what the mascot will be, Bachmeier said, but how it will work has yet to be determined.

“We want to make sure it’s clear how it will work,” he said of the contest, before any decisions are made.

The Mascot Committee will meet again on Dec. 5 to start deciding how to put the contest together, Bachmeier said.

The committee put all their feelings on the survey, saying that it didn’t matter how they felt, that the outcome would be the outcome, he said. But thousands have spoken.

“We really appreciate the feedback,” Bachmeier said. “People made crystal clear what they want.”