The President’s Cabinet at Southern Adventist University officially approved Student Association’s (SA) proposed bear mascot on March 27, according to President Ken Shaw.
SA President Kenneth Bautista, senior management major, wrote in an email to the Accent that SA plans to soft launch the mascot this semester. Bautista also shared an image of the official mascot logo (shown above).
Students can vote for the mascot’s name on a Google form survey available now by selecting one of four names: Baker, Gruff, Dave and Berry. SA plans to promote the survey on Instagram.
“We have four names with a rich history in Southern culture and need your help in deciding the name of our school mascot,” Bautista wrote, addressing students.
The history associated with each name is explained in the survey.
Bautista said the mascot committee, composed of Bautista and SA Senate members Wilson Hannawi, junior biology major, and Anna Mihaescu, junior accounting major, presented the mascot to the Student Development Committee, Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees after discussing the proposal with more than 300 students through voting forms and focus groups.
“This was a student-led effort that was valued,” Shaw wrote to the Accent. “With the mascot being an important decision for the university, it was important to obtain broad input, which was done in meetings such as University Senate, University Assembly, and our Board of Trustees.”
The President’s Cabinet reviewed the School of Health and Kinesiology’s letter of concern about the implementation of an official mascot. The letter was discussed in a previous Accent article.
“One of the premises of their faculty that we spoke in great support of was that this mascot in no way will be a precursor to starting intercollegiate sports,” Shaw wrote. “We also discussed the great value Southern has with our strong intramural program, and we want to continue this for many years to come.”
To soft launch the bear this semester, SA will introduce bear-associated elements to campus activities, wrote Bautista. For example, the group will distribute “bear bucks” at 423 Night Market this weekend.
The mascot’s official costume reveal party will occur next school year, but the university’s current SA hopes to “create a clear blueprint for what a mascot on Southern’s campus will look like for future mascot committees,” wrote Bautista.
He added that SA Senate voted to create an official mascot for the university years ago, but nobody took initiative to complete the task. Developing a mascot was a main tenet of Bautista’s presidential campaign, and his aim was to create an entity that would uplift students.
“The goal of a mascot on campus is to build camaraderie, grow school spirit and become a common symbol that Southern students can get behind,” Bautista wrote.
Next school year, an SA Senate committee will plan the mascot’s operations, Bautista added. The bear will appear at SA, dorm and departmental events, as well as intramurals.
Shaw wrote that he looks forward to seeing students interact with the mascot at student club and Southern Preview events.
Joseph Khabbaz, vice president of Spiritual Life and member of the President’s Cabinet, wrote to the Accent that he is proud of SA’s hard work in creating a mascot for the university and is grateful for the group’s dedication to the school.
“My belief [is] that any new university mascot should have the support of the majority, if not the entire campus community,” Khabbaz wrote. “This is especially important for those who plan to utilize the mascot the most, such as intramural teams, student organizations, and other campus groups.
“A mascot is not just a symbol, but a representation of the mission and values of Southern,” he added. “It is therefore something that should be embraced and celebrated by students, faculty, and staff. If a mascot is adopted without the support of the majority of the campus community, it could lead to a lack of enthusiasm and participation in events and activities that involve the use of a mascot.”