Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Thursday night, Mascot Committee held a fireside chat in order to encourage discussion about Swarthmore’s new mascot, the Phoenix. The Phoenix was selected as the new mascot over the summer after winning a plurality of votes among 873 alumni and 868 student voters. The alumni who voted ranged from the Class of 1948 to the Class of 2005, with the bulk of votes coming from more recent alumni (85 from 2005, 63 from 2004, 74 from 2003) but with votes spread out across the years; of the older classes, the Class of 1972 had a particularly impressive showing at 22.
Right now, the committee’s priority is creating a Phoenix costume so that a mascot can show up at sports games and other events such as Ride the Tide, freshman orientation, and Alumni Weekend. It is hoped that other groups would also think up their own innovative uses for the mascot. The costume is expected to happen by Fall 2007, but could happen “as quickly as people are willing to put effort into it,” explained Kyle White ’08. According to Danielle Tocchet ’08, a mascot logo for apparel and other merchandise (tiny stuffed phoenixes, anyone?) is “not in our immediate goals,” but will hopefully happen farther down the road.
The committee is currently in the process of contacting costume companies in order to find one that would be willing to work with Swarthmore on a non-traditional mascot. The possibility of having the Swarthmore Costume Shop create the mascot was floated, but at the moment the committee is leaning towards investing in a durable mascot from a company. The sources of funding for the mascot have not yet been determined.
Some of the questions discussed at the meeting were the color scheme for the mascot (probably deep garnet with bright fiery wings), the incentive for being the mascot (possibly PE credit, but more likely a paying job), and the possible pyrotechnic accompaniments (is there any way a fire-spitting bird can be safe?). The group also agreed that the mascot should be fierce, rather than funny. As James Mendez Hodes ’08 pointed out, “in a fierce suit you can act funny… in a funny suit you can’t really act fierce.” Sketches of possible designs were also passed around, including a fierce hockey-stick-carrying Phoenix designed by Summer Spicer ’07 that will appear on this year’s field hockey shirts.
The members of Mascot Committee all stressed that “we want to use as much student input as possible,” and encouraged students to contact Kyle White at kwhite1 [at] swarthmore.edu with their ideas. The committee will probably hold contests for designing and naming the mascot (Petey? Phillip? Paul? Bob Gross?) early in the spring semester.