The question of what to do with Bradley’s mascot has loomed for more than two decades.
The issue is brought up every few years, but each time either a poor compromise is selected or the issue is simply shot down.
Many credit the lack of school spirit to the lack of a mascot.
And while we don’t think adding a mascot is going to completely reverse the trend of apathy, it’s clear that if administrators think a mascot will offer such beneficial effects, the time to start its search process is now.
The university is in the process of recreating and branding itself. That is, after all, what the Renaissance Campaign is all about.
So this week, Student Senate passed a resolution for University President Joanne Glasser to form a committee to slate ideas for a new mascot.
And while, we’re not completely against the idea of a mascot, it’s worth questioning to ask whether adding one can change the mold of a student body.
Can a logo, an idea or someone dressed up in costume really change what it means to be a Bradley Brave?
Glasser has not yet agreed to form the committee, but if she does, there are a slew of hurdles that will need to be jumped before any decision can be made.
People come to school here because they like what Bradley has to offer. It is imperative that the reasons students already like the school be analyzed and studied to see if having a mascot would make them any stronger.
School spirit is largely associated with sports. And although Bradley has a strong history of athletic tradition, it’s unlikely that students who choose to attend Bradley do so because they want the experience of going to big games with screaming fans.
But Bradley doesn’t have a Big-10 football program. We don’t have oversized arenas, so we likely don’t attract the students who dream of a college experience defined by wearing school colors and shouting the name of a mascot.
Our last mascot, a Bobcat in the mid-90s, failed because students didn’t show any appreciation for it. Although the Bobcat stands for strong, tenacious characteristics, it didn’t seem to make our sports teams or students feel more powerful.
Student Body President Kyle Malinowski told the Scout that a mascot could add “unbelievable value to the university in terms of dollars and school spirit.”
And while that may or may not be true, a mascot committee will face enormous pulls from every side of the issue.
Some feel Bradley should simply drop the nickname Braves And there’s some merit to that.
If that’s the direction the university moved, the challenge would become finding something that truly represents Bradley.
Former Student Body President Jordan Ticaric presented one possibility four years ago. Her idea at the time was to go by the nickname the Centurions, which was a Roman soldier, but also the name of the highest honor the university has. That’s one example that has stuck with us.
And while, that may not be the solution, it’s proof that there are good ideas out there beyond Braves.
The committee may also recommend keeping the Braves but adding some sort of creature to serve as a mascot.
That could work, and it would allow those who are loyal to the Braves name to have their cake and eat it too. But it may look odd to be cheering “Go Braves” at a basketball game while watching a creature run around the floor.
The final option would be to do nothing. This is obviously the less ideal plan, but it would probably be the easiest way to avoid the headaches any mascot plan would create.
Without a doubt, any search for a mascot is going to be tricky.
And to be honest, we don’t know the best direction to go when it comes to a mascot search.
But it is clear that a committee made of members of the entire university community, including students, is the way that direction is going to be found.