The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Petition aims to give potential mascot a chance

All they are saying is ‘Give Chip a chance.’

Students are taking action by using Facebook to protest the Blugold mascot survey because they feel the bird was slighted. Over the last few years, students may have spotted the mythical mascot walking around campus, at sporting events or giving out some extra momentum on those early Monday mornings.

When the mythical bird was not a choice on the survey, a few students and staff members decided to start a Facebook group to get the word out.

Kirby Harless, Sutherland’s hall director and creator of the Facebook group “All we’re saying, is give The Bird a chance,” said he didn’t have a problem with the process, but he didn’t think the bird was fairly represented.

“I appreciate the committee and the criteria, but Chip E. Wa was around for a few years and getting established,” he said. “The whole Chip E. Wa idea was kind of ignored; that voice was being ignored.”

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Harless said he wanted to wait until after the votes were tabulated before he acted, but he felt the need to do something about it.

“There was kind of an outcry from the students and anyone I talked to about this,” he said. “Obviously Chip E. Wa has an appeal, and I just wanted to build on the momentum.”

Harless created the group about two weeks ago and said he didn’t know what would come out of it. After two days, about 1,000 members had joined, and the total now is close to 1,600.

Casey Driscoll, senior and creator of the mascot, said he didn’t get involved with the new campaign right away but now just wants to see the mascot get an equal opportunity.

“On a superficial level I guess I just want students to get this mascot and embrace the story behind it,” he said, ” but I also want to convince everyone that it is a tremendous beacon and a tool to communicate, educate and revitalize.”

Driscoll said he doesn’t expect to be the new mascot himself but hopes his original message will continue on.

“I think it’s all summed up through Momentum Monday and just giving out high fives,” he said. “It’s like if we can take the most difficult part of the week and make it the best part of your day, that’s what it’s all about.”

Mary Wolf, sophomore and resident assistant for Sutherland Hall, is an admin for the Facebook group and said she feels like the bird was always the natural choice.

“I always kind of assumed he was the mascot, and it’s like there is no school spirit when he’s not there to pump everyone up,” she said. “He’s such an icon, and they didn’t even give him a chance.”

Wolf said she would have been much happier with the survey results if the bird got a shot at competing.

“I think a lot of people wrote in Chip E. Wa in the comment section, but we don’t know how many,” she said. “But whatever we have, I can’t see us as having anything tangible like an ox because Blugolds aren’t real; it’s spirit.”

The group is moving outside of Facebook and now has a petition out to get a new survey and is selling buttons and T-shirts to spread the word out and get people motivated. Driscoll said they are being sold at the Help Desk in the Old Library and at the front desk of Sutherland Hall, but none of the proceeds are coming back to him.

“Half the money raised will be set aside for the mascot itself, like maintaining the costume and stuff,” he said. “But the other half is being donated to the Blugold Beginnings program that mentors underrepresented youth in high schools around the area.”

Harless said he hopes students will get involved and support the bird beyond Facebook and thinks the mythical bird is the right choice.

“Our hope is that it’s not offensive; we’ll even change the name if we have to,” he said. “We don’t want it to make people feel uncomfortable because the primary goal, like the goal of the school, is to make people feel welcome, and I think Chip E. Wa does that.”

Editor’s note: According to a Facebook message sent to the members of the group, “All we’re saying, is give The Bird a chance,” the name of the bird is being reconsidered as not to offend anyone.

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Petition aims to give potential mascot a chance