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ISSUE 118 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/15/2004

Mascot in question

By Allie Helling
Staff Writer


Friday, October 15, 2004

The costume Ole the Lion, St. Olaf's mascot, has deteriorated to such a point that it needs to be replaced immediately, and the discussion of simply buying a new lion costume similar to the current costume has been coupled with talks of changing the mascot entirely.

The costume has been in disrepair for a few years, but the need for a new costume became especially apparent early this fall. Fur is coming out of the lion's body and the costume's head is falling apart. Also, the costume can difficult to wear for some people.

The money needed for the new costume will most likely be provided by Student Government Association (SGA), which will use a small portion of its one-time $100,000 budget surplus to fund the project.

In order to use SGA money, either the Senate will need to pass the proposal, or a branch of the SGA, such as the Student Activities Committee (SAC), will need to offer to pay for the costume.

SGA Vice President Janine Wetzel '05 does not expect the costume to be very expensive. Wetzel estimated that it will cost approximately $1,000.

St. Olaf hopes to have a new costume by Interim, and a costume choice should be made in the next few weeks.

While most students might assume that a similar costume will replace the one in disrepair, some students feel the lion is outdated.

Erik Fosheim '05, who has volunteered to be the mascot for athletic competitions, charity events and some special meetings since his freshman year, has interest in searching for St. Olaf's true mascot.

Fosheim is currently researching the official mascot of St. Olaf by delving into the college's history, and has begun to wonder if the college should be represented by a lion or by the popular nickname, "Ole."

Fosheim has talked with alumni, and it seems that during the 1970s, athletic teams at the college were known as the "St. Olaf Lions," and the "St. Olaf Oles" term was not prevalent. The word "Ole originally appeared during the early 1900s and simply refers to a student at St. Olaf College.

Fosheim suggests that St. Olaf could possibly have a person who dresses up like an "Ole" for a mascot. The problem would then lie in agreeing on exactly what an Ole looks like.

The current mascot's name, Ole the Lion, has even come under examination. The name written inside the head of the costume is Larry the Lion. Furthermore, according to Fosheim, it seems there were no references to St. Olaf's lion mascot being named Ole prior to two or three years ago.

Fosheim will continue with his research and is taking suggestions from the athletic department, alumni and other people connected to the College. Most importantly, he would like student feedback and suggestions regarding the possibility of changing the mascot.

"We want it to represent all St. Olaf students, Fosheim said. "I would gladly take suggestions."

At a time when student opinions are being called for on a number of key issues within the College, students are welcome to speak up and have a say in these decisions.





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