Opinions

No mascot, no problem

We need a new mascot, we don’t need a new mascot. I’ll solve the problem; how about no mascot?

Associated Students Inc. launched its web-based mascot search Monday morning, and I’m sure they’ll receive a ton of serious ideas ranging from escalators to mummies. All memes aside, this raises a bigger issue, why should we be forced to submit to one symbol?

Long Beach State prides itself on its diverse student body, faculty and community. According to College Factual, LBSU ranks 190 out of 2718 in the nation for ethnic diversity among universities, beating out all other California State Universities. So it only makes sense to honor that diversity by not squeezing ourselves into a giraffe suit.

It’s ironic that LBSU Athletics has already adopted this model, seeing as a mascot’s main purpose is to represent sports teams. The baseball team calls itself the Dirtbags, while the men’s basketball team has ascended LBSU and rebranded itself as a team of the city, as made evident by its new LBC jerseys. Women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and others have latched onto the Beach, which has been widely used for sports attire and cheers.

Ask the men’s volleyball team how they’ve been doing without a mascot; I’ll bet you a championship ring they don’t care.

Then there’s the financial impact of this search. While the school decides on which animal to dress some poor kinesiology major up in next year, over 10,000 students will have graduated with over 50 percent of them accruing $20,000 or more in debt. I’m sure they’ll be all ra-ra about a new mascot then.

Perhaps that money could have been used to support student needs and maybe take some financial pressure off students so they could actually have some free time to go to attend an LBSU sports game.  

Yes, I’ll admit having a giant plushie to take drunken selfies with at games is a fun part of the fan experience. And there are many perks of a fluffy mascot riling up the crowd instead of the 45-year-old-drunken-man in the student section. But we’ve gone so long without a mascot at any events, would we even acknowledge one? The last reported Prospector Pete appearance was 2014, and a lot of the current study body wasn’t even around for that.

With Pete’s disappearance, students are given the opportunity to emerge and represent this campus. We don’t need a single mascot, we are the mascot; we’ve been the mascot all along, with our diversity, brilliance and leadership.

We can finally get out of the shadow of a statue or a giraffe and vote no on a new mascot.

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