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

Blugold mascot options are absurd

What is a Blugold?

This is a question wondered by potential students, community members and current students alike.

When I first considered UW-Eau Claire as a potential place to attend college, I was walking around the campus and saw different students wearing apparel with the letter “E” on it.

Being a sports enthusiast, I became curious to what the university’s mascot was. My older sister, who was a junior at Eau Claire, was with me at the time, so I asked her — what is Eau Claire’s mascot?

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She responded that UW-Eau Claire is the home of the Blugolds, with a chuckle. I had never heard the term before, and quickly asked the obvious question — what is a Blugold?

Her explanation was one I’ve heard time and time again, that a Blugold was some sort of mythical bird. Even if this isn’t necessarily the intended definition, it is still the understanding of most students, and therefore has become the definition of what a Blugold is. After all, definitions are only what we make them out to be.

A survey was conducted in 2008 to see how students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors felt about adapting an official mascot for the school. Sixty-nine percent of the 7,000 respondents agreed that Eau Claire needs a mascot, according to a university issued press release.

When the university announced at the end of 2009 that they would be holding a contest to find a new mascot, I was interested and excited to see what would come of it.

The contest was held, and 29 different options were suggested to the committee that was responsible for making the decision. The committee reviewed the options last fall and then everything disappeared. It was unclear what happened to the results of the contest, and they were never released.

After some more time passed, and more students forgot the contest even happened, the results were finally released last month with two finalists. It was never said why the contest results were pushed back.

The finalists were then presented to the student body, who were able to vote on which one they liked best in the form of a survey. The results of the survey would then be used to help the committee make a final decision.

To my surprise, and to the surprise of many students, the options that were given were a voyageur, an ox or no mascot.

This baffled me from the start, and got me wondering how a bird was not one of the finalists.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with either options as mascots for other schools, but for our situation it just doesn’t make sense. How could a university that would be known as the Blugolds have a mascot that is something completely different? How could we be the Eau Claire Blugolds and have an ox on our uniforms or a voyageur running around at sporting events? This would create confusion among outsiders and force students to present explanations about the mascot situation to them that would never fully make sense.

Instead of giving the obvious option of a bird to students, the committee instead provided options that must have been clear from the start would never work.

When I walked around campus and spoke to numerous random students about which options they liked best, more than 75 percent of them said they wanted no mascot if these were the options.

How could that be? How is it possible that the same university that had 69 percent of people say they want a mascot, all of a sudden have 75 percent of people not wanting one at all?

I don’t think that students don’t want a mascot, they just don’t want the ones that were suggested because they didn’t make sense.

So was there no bird option presented to the committee? No, actually, quite the contrary is true. The organizer of the committee admitted himself that multiple birds were submitted, but that they did not receive enough points from the committee to become a finalist.

Personally, I don’t see how this could be. It appears to me that the committee blatantly ignored the most obvious option for new mascot, a bird. I have no idea what their motivation for the decision was, but they clearly could have made the bird an option if they wanted. Instead, they released options that students would likely not support, and are now leaving them with the same old thing. No mascot.

Maybe the committee pushed the releasing of the results back because they were worried that people would be upset with their choice. Maybe they thought that if they waited long enough, that the student body would forget a contest was even held to get suggestions. Maybe they hoped that the options they gave us would just be accepted, and nobody would wonder if anything better was suggested, because they forgot the contest even happened.

First the Blugold Commitment, and now the mascot choice.

What is a Blugold? To most students, the answer is a bird. To the university, it seems to be someone whose opinion can be easily ignored.

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Blugold mascot options are absurd