After a long absence, Colgate is finally getting a mascot. For years the University’s athletic teams have competed without a costumed character cheering from the sidelines. Complementing this spirit-oriented campaign is a plan to replace the current logo – a “C” surrounded by a red and gray circle – with a new one. Although uniforms will remain the same, all school merchandise will eventually carry this new design.
Plans are still being made as to when to introduce these changes. Athletic Director Dave Roach says that Colgate’s plan involves a “gradual roll-out.” University merchandise will start incorporating the new logo over the next year, and the mascot will appear sometime after that. For now, however, the school is sticking with its current emblem on all official publications as well as the website.
What does a Raider look like exactly? Roach describes it as something of an “outdoorsman.” The mascot, however, is still in the design stage. The decision-making process is being run by a rotating committee consisting of roughly 30 people at any given time, and including faculty, students, staff, student-athletes and alumni. When the design is finalized, an image of the Raider will also appear on the new logo. Until then, the athletic office is only releasing prints that say “Colgate University.”
The committee’s ultimate goal according to Roach, is to give the school a “cleaner, brighter, sharper” look. Having a mascot should also help with community building, as the character can appear at local schools and township events.
Student responses to the new plans are somewhat mixed. “The school doesn’t need to spend money and effort on a mascot; this campus has too many glaring problems,” senior Nicolo Giorgi said. “The town is already strongly integrated. Do I think this mascot would make it more positive? Maybe a little, but I don’t think a mascot is going to really solve real divisions between the town and community.”
Senior Dan Ellis, who runs varsity track, is also skeptical. In particular, he wonders how the mascot relates to the school’s Raider theme. He also does not believe it will benefit him as an athlete, since mascots usually do not appear at meets.
Other students, however, are more excited about the project. Ted Rossman, a senior who broadcasts a number of Colgate sporting events, was in favor of the new mascot. “Introducing a mascot is a great way to build school spirit and excitement at Colgate athletic events,” he said.
Senior John Breault, a former player on the Colgate football team, also envisions the Raider as an excellent way to galvanize school spirit. “I think it would be nice to have a mascot out there cheering for the team, especially if he could get the crowd more into the games.”
First-year Chaz Carrier, on the other hand, is not entirely convinced of the mascot’s practical value. He believes that the project “could help, but it might fall through.” He added that, “if there isn’t enough support in the stands, a mascot is useless.”
Sophomore Barnes Kelley believes the mascot is long overdue. Unconcerned about the ramifications for school spirit, he sees it as something of a necessity. “I think it’s embarrassing not to have one,” he said. “Most schools that are serious about athletics have one.”
Kelley brings up an important point. Mascots are a staple of college athletic programs, and even if Colgate’s costumed Raider fails to draw more spirit out of the student body, it will fill a niche. As many of the student responses suggest, however, an image makeover cannot manufacture school spirit on its own. Enthusiasm for Colgate’s athletics is so spontaneous and subjective that there really is no way to account for it. As always, the onus is with the student spectators to show their support, as well as the school teams to remain competitive enough to generate it.