Starting the week with spirit

As masses of students trudged down the hill on yet another Monday morning, they heard the unfamiliar sound of cheering and “happy Monday!” When they reached the bottom a large bird, named Blu, was there to greet them, offering a high five, free coffee and a dose of Blugold spirit.
As part of the event called Momentum Monday, Student Senate members stood at the bottom of the hill with the UW-Eau Claire student-adopted mascot  to commence homecoming week from 7:30 to 10 a.m.
“It made my day,” said Hannah Sislo, a freshman elementary education major.
Momentum Monday began with the goal of this reaction when Casey Driscoll, 2012 alumnus of Eau Claire, wanted to encourage students with a physical school mascot. He dressed up in a bird costume and made appearances on Monday mornings and at Blugold events.
This year, Senate hosted the event to continue Driscoll’s legacy and to build more awareness across campus about Eau Claire’s student government, Student Senate Public Relations Director Erica Rasmussen said.
“(We’re) trying to bridge the gap between our students and our leadership and also that feel-good Blugold spirit,” she said.
Rasmussen said she was also particularly excited about Momentum Monday because it finally unveiled the mascot’s new official costume. Over the years, students and faculty have debated over a mascot to embody the Blugold.
In 2010, a mascot committee made up of students, faculty, alumni and community members created an email survey giving three mascot options: a blue ox, a voyageur or no mascot. Respondents favored the blue ox by a small margin, but the search for a mascot did not stop there.
The senate took a new survey the next fall. From this survey, students adopted the mythical bird as their mascot. The bird is not the official mascot of Eau Claire, but a representation of the student body. In the following years, the image of the blue and gold bird and the name “Blu” came to be.
In March 2013, the senate took the next step of paying $4,468 through a special reserve account for the new mascot costume. University Centers paid for a second costume as well.
Reactions to Blu’s new look are mixed among students, but students agree having a mascot around to kick off  homecoming is a benefit.
“I think it is good for school spirit and to help people to get motivated,” said Stephanie Johnson, a junior nursing major.
The event also gave new students, like freshman Weston Tobias, the opportunity to see a mascot at the start of homecoming week for the first time. Tobias said he wanted to see Eau Claire’s mascot beforehand and liked that the event gave him the chance to do this.
Rasmussen said Momentum Monday’s goal was to start the week on a high note and allow students to experience what being a Blugold is all about.