Group searches for new mascot
In an effort to find Dartmouth a mascot, a group of students unveiled a web survey today to garner community opinion on the topic.
The survey, constructed by a student group calling itself the 'Big Green Backers,' allows students to indicate whether they would like to keep the Big Green, suggest their own mascot or volunteer to serve on a committee to find a new mascot.
Through the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, alumni will be able to express their opinions through business reply cards.
Student Assembly President Jon Heavey '97 said he feels there is a need for a mascot for students to rally around. Heavey is a member of the Big Green Backers, which has conducted the preliminary work for the project.
"It would be more fun to have a tangible item ... running around the stands at athletic events," Heavey said.
According to the web survey, the College's original school color was blue. The Indian symbol, which was never formally adopted by the College, appeared on athletic wear from the 1920s until 1972, when the unofficial moniker of the Big Green was selected as Dartmouth's new college team name.
Heavey said he thinks the project will be a positive one.
"We would like to find [a mascot] that reconciles a wound in Dartmouth's past," Heavey said. "Although we recognize this could be a nightmare depending to what degree this dips into politics and to what level it remains a benign and fun pursuit."
Heavey said the mascot committee is not seeking College approval of the mascot at this point.
"If the College chooses to acknowledge [the mascot] that's great, but it is not something we are pushing for at this time," Heavey said.
Heavey said the College "administration made a distinction between finding an official logo for the College and just finding a mascot to run around at athletic events."
Heavey said the web page is up and running, at the site http://www.dartmouth.edu/~assembly/mascot, and there will be a mass mailing to students' Hinman boxes today encouraging them to log on to the page and register their opinion.
The entire process may be completed as early as Winter Carnival, Heavey said.
"Everybody who wants to be a part of the process can be on the committee," Heavey said. "The committee is really made of whoever wants to be on it. It is a major time commitment and we will have to see who takes a real interest in it."
The mascot committee will take up 40 hours a week, according to the press release, and students should consider their other commitments before deciding to take part in the mascot committee.
"It is going to be very time intensive through Homecoming for the mascot committee," Heavey said. "We are going to be busting our butts on it and spending as much time as possible on it."
Heavey said the four people who issued the press release will not be the ones making the final decision.
"We have just laid the groundwork for people who want to be involved," Heavey said. "It is not our decision to make. It is everyone's decision to make."
The mascot committee will be responsible for narrowing all the ideas from the survey on the web page to four, which will then be subject to a campus-wide vote.
According to the press release, the mascot movement has the unanimous backing of the Athletic Committee of the Alumni Council and the Dartmouth College Athletic Department.
Students have mixed opinions about whether the mascot should be changed and what it should be changed to.
Elizabeth Polina '00 said "I've come to accept the Big Green and
the thing is that if the new mascot is the Big Green something it would be easier to accept. At least that way we would not just be abandoning the Big Green tradition."
Nikesh Jindal '99 said, "I don't really like the Big Green as a mascot but I don't think they should ever have changed from the Indian."
"Essentially a lot of students would like it if we would go back to the Indian," Jindal said. "Of course I don't think the [College] administration would go for that."
Katie Stark '00 said she is not sure that a mascot would do much for raising school spirit.
"I don't think we rally a whole lot around our sports and I don't think not having a mascot is the reason why," Stark said. "I think there is still going to be a lot of dissension about what that mascot would be."