It began like a guerilla strike: Flyers appeared on cafeteria tables between meals, on bulletin boards in Bobst, and on the upper floors of dorms.
The flyers represent the latest movement in NYU’s everlasting debate on what our mascot is, exactly. “As it stands now, the NYU logo is the ‘Torch,’ the NYU mascot is the ‘Bobcat,’ and the NYU team name is the ‘Violets,’” explains Adam Peterson, a CAS sophomore involved in the movement. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t really know what torches, bobcats, and violets have to do with each other.”
Peterson’s point is a valid one, and hints at broader confusion among the student body. “Our name is the Violets and our mascot is a bobcat,” one Tisch freshman muses, “But our mascot is not a violet bobcat. That’s a missed opportunity, actually.”
So how do Peterson and his otherwise-anonymous band of flyer-distributers suggest we solve NYU’s prolonged identity crisis? The original solution they offered was to change our team name and mascot to the NYU Olympians. However, as discussion on the NYU Olympian Facebook page indicates, the movement perceived possible legal troubles over having a team name associated with the highly-trademarked Olympic Games.
But according to Peterson, “this seems to have all worked out for the best… after spending a good few hours looking for alternative mascots and names, we found a substitute that worked perfectly with our entire previous platform. We have therefore recently changed our idea from the NYU Olympian to the NYU Trailblazer.”
The idea offered in this preliminary sketch “works perfectly with the NYU logo, ‘the Torch’, because a ‘Trailblazer’ would be holding and using the torch to blaze the trail ahead of him,” Peterson says. In response to questions on maintaining a male mascot at a coed school, he adds, “I see no reason why we couldn’t adjust the idea and make the mascot the NYU Trailblazers with a man and woman running next to each other both leading the way with NYU torches for others to follow.”
Peterson and others have clearly been devoted to the subject of this new mascot. But perhaps the nature of NYU school spirit is something less-structured and more confusing than all of this. “I sort of like that our mascot and team name have nothing to do with each other,” offers a CAS student. “It’s a bit of a non-sequitur. Very NYU.”
Regardless of your stance on school spirit, the wandering evolution of our mascot and team name has undeniably shaped NYU’s identity. Maybe we’re watching the beginning of the next change. And we’ll be following on the heels of the Trailblazer, watching what he (or she) morphs into next.