Written by: Dalton Baldwin
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When I return home for breaks, I meet up with my friends, and conversation inevitably drifts to the topic of school life. A recurring discussion within this topic has been school mascots. I viciously mock La Sierra and Walla Walla students for their dull and uninspired mascots: the eagle and the wolf. At the same time, I extoll the virtues of our fun and unique (although unofficial) duck. But now Southern threatens to follow other schools down their path of mediocrity. With the loss of the duck, Southern threatens to not only lose a nostalgic symbol, one embedded with history and traditions, but this issue points to a deeper-rooted one, namely an out-of-control and fiscally irresponsible Student Association (SA).
A duck is a far better mascot for Southern from a symbolic point of view. For one, bears operate in the realm of violence and bloodshed. Between 2000 and 2017, bears killed 48 people in North America. In that same time period, ducks killed zero people. Some have said that bears would be a good symbol because they are “protective of their cubs.” However, in actuality, male bears will devour their own cubs if pressed. In contrast, ducks exhibit copious amounts of Christ-like behavior, even taking in abandoned chicks in a process called brood amalgamation. This radical love is exactly the type of behavior that Southern should want its students to display, thus making the duck an excellent mascot for our university.
But if the duck is such a great symbol, why change to a bear at all? The case for changing our mascot to a bear is purportedly due to a desire to boost school spirit, but doing so would diminish school spirit. Southern already has a plethora of traditions associated with the duck: The Duck Walk and Kevin, to name a few. We threaten to lose these with a switch to the bear. Furthermore, it would take a long time to artificially construct these traditions if we were to start from square one with a bear.
If SA would like to establish an official mascot, the duck would have a greater chance of flying with faculty. Wouldn’t it be much simpler to capitalize on this preexisting attachment to the duck?
The truth is that a duck is a more fitting choice to represent Southern while taking less resources to institute, but SA is not necessarily concerned with that. SA is given a budget and told to spend all of it if they want to see an increase in funds for the next fiscal year.
Briana Collins, the financial vice president of SA, was recently quoted in an Accent article saying, “That’s why, for Senate, we really encourage them to spend their budget on their projects. Otherwise, their budget could be cut. If they’re not using the money, then we’re not gonna keep giving money.”
This encourages SA to jump into unnecessary projects without fully researching or communicating them. After all, these steps would take time that SA members do not have.
As such, we have repeatedly seen incidents of SA officers being irresponsible with their money. They bought $2,000 worth of pepper spray without full knowledge that they would be able to distribute it. They also spent $1,600 on a D1 mascot design, according to an Accent article, before communicating this change to the faculty and student body.
This isn’t to say that SA doesn’t deserve funding, but it is sickening to live under a system in which SA is encouraged to spend like there is no tomorrow, while the vast majority of students receive federal minimum wage, and each LifeGroup is only given an annual budget of $50.
Southern is an institution that deserves to have a great mascot and not to be bogged down in mediocrity with a mundane mascot like a bear, which would divert funds away from other worthy causes. The duck would be a far more representative mascot at a cheaper cost. It’s time SA starts thinking before spending. Choosing a duck as our official mascot instead of a bear is a good place to start.