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UW-Eau Claire narrows mascot options

RELEASED: Feb. 17, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — A committee charged with selecting an official mascot for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has narrowed its options to three.

UW-Eau Claire Blugolds logoThe options for answering the "What is a Blugold?" question include an ox, a voyageur or no mascot, said John Bachmeier, director of alumni relations.

The committee settled on the three options after reviewing the 29 entries that were submitted as part the Blugold Mascot Design Contest.

"We received many creative and interesting ideas," Bachmeier said. "The committee members worked hard to identify the ideas they thought best represented our Blugold community."

Artwork and narrative supporting the concepts will be shared tomorrow via e-mail with thousands of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the university. The e-mail will ask recipients to rate each idea and offer comments on the concepts, Bachmeier said.

The input received from the e-mail survey will be considered by the committee, Bachmeier said. The committee is composed of alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members.

The mascot concepts being considered are:

  • image of a Voyageur The Voyageur, submitted by Signe Matson, an academic adviser in Advising and New Student Initiatives at UW-Eau Claire, and Dr. Steven Majstorovic, an associate professor of political science at UW-Eau Claire. The voyageur represents the finest aspects of Blugold tradition: exploration, courage, curiosity, excellence and diversity, their proposal stated. The region's legacy is rooted in French and Native American names of rivers, towns, lakes and woodlands, they said. Eau Claire was named by voyageurs; a blue and gold colored canoe, paddle and sash would be appropriate for the mascot, they stated. There also could be a gender-neutral French name for the mascot such as Jean or Francois.
  • Blue Ox imageThe Blugold Ox, submitted by Mallory Prucha Rishoi, costume shop supervisor in the department of music and theatre at UW-Eau Claire. The ox would have golden horns and a yoke made from the Council Oak Tree, symbolizing a charge toward the future, Prucha Rishoi stated. Lumbermen prized oxen for their loyalty and endurance, she stated, noting that Babe the Blue Ox's hooves have been credited for making hills and rivers. The Blugold and Blue Ox are subjects of common folklore, reminders of past stories and of tall tales to come, she said. According to legend, the Great Lakes were carved out for Babe to drink from. The Blugold Ox embodies an extreme thirst — for knowledge and excellence, she stated.

Those filling out the survey also will have the opportunity to indicate that they do not think there should be a mascot, Bachmeier said.

The mascot contest was created after a 2008 survey of the university community showed strong support for a mascot. Nearly 7,000 people responded to the survey, with 69 percent of the respondents indicating that they favored having a mascot. The survey was initiated by a committee of students, faculty, staff and community members charged by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich to research the mascot issue.

The Blugold Mascot Design Contest was open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends of the university. Entries had to be related to UW-Eau Claire's long-standing nickname "Blugolds," incorporate the school colors of blue and gold, and represent the positive attributes of students and alumni.

The issue of having a mascot has surfaced off and on throughout UW-Eau Claire's history. In 1956, the Art Club sponsored a mascot contest. Students were to vote on a mascot, which alumni were to approve. Almost a third of the students voted, with Buster Bulldog winning first place, but no record has been found authorizing such a mascot.

In 1965 a mascot contest resulted in 25 entries, but the University Senate rejected the results because "students were not given the choice of a 'no' vote," university records state.

The mascot issue resurfaced in 2006 when the Student Senate president authored a resolution to recommend the chancellor form a committee to review the need for redefining a Blugold. In 2007, the administration was petitioned for the creation of an official mascot.

For details, contact John Bachmeier at 715-836-5189 or bachmejg@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB/DW

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