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

Student body selects new design for Blugold bird

UW-Eau Claire used to be the only school in the UW System without a mascot, but now that has changed. Student Senate formed a committee of students to put a bird face to the Blugold name earlier in the year.

According to a university press release, the committee of students sent out a request to students, faculty, staff and alumni in April calling for image submissions.

After a month of submissions, students were sent a survey via email to rank four final images from most to least favorite. Almost 2,700 students responded to the survey, with 57 percent choosing Ben Stroinski’s blue and gold bird image, according to the release.

Stroinski, an alumnus of the 2004 class, said he thought it was great that the students wanted to move forward with something that would represent them as a united body.

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“When I was in school, we didn’t have a mascot to get behind,” Stroinski said.  “Everyone was always asking, ‘What’s a Blugold?’ and now this mascot is something to bring energy and attention to the student body.”
Nick Hogan, a senior public relations major and Student Senate chief of staff, agreed with Stroinski. He said the students need something to embody their spirit as a whole and to help create camaraderie and school pride.
Hogan said he thinks a mascot will be able to do just that. However, the university isn’t quite convinced. The new Blugold bird mascot is simply the official student body mascot, unrecognized by the university.
Phil Rynish, student body president, said a downside to the university not recognizing the mascot is that varsity athletic teams can’t print the image on their uniforms.

However, Rynish said club sports teams are able to use it freely, as well as the University Bookstore.

Both Rynish and Hogan acknowledged the fact that money is an issue surrounding the new mascot, saying that just the physical suit alone could cost thousands of dollars.

“I think it’s a combination of different factors, but it could be partially a financial issue, with the economic climate in Wisconsin right now, especially within the UW System,” Hogan said.

Costs aside, the Student Senate will pursue a physical mascot suit to represent the students. Although Rynish said he doesn’t think it will be done this year, he hopes to be able to hold auditions for current students to bring the mascot to life.

Hogan said alumni of the university have voiced their opinions too, wanting the university to remain the way they remember it – with no mascot representing the student body.

Stroinski, who lives in the Chippewa Valley, said he still keeps up with events at UW-Eau Claire, as well as other alumni, and has heard an abundance of positive feedback.

“People I’ve talked to seem to love it, saying it is something different and modern, really fitting with the university,” Stroinski said. “I want it to be something that can carry the image of the university forward.”

Hogan said one of the committee’s goals is for the mascot to assimilate into university culture, and eventually be officially recognized by the university.

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Student body selects new design for Blugold bird