Mascot Committee Narrows List of Submissions to 30
Issue   |   Tue, 01/24/2017 - 23:54

The Mascot Committee published a list of 30 mascot semifinalists, including ideas such as hamsters, moose, fighting poets and aces, on the college’s website this past December.

The Mascot Committee, comprised of members from the Alumni Executive Committee, Association of Amherst Students and staff representatives, underwent three rounds of discussion to narrow down the 2,045 suggestions submitted by the Amherst community.

The initial round consisted of preliminarily voting “yes” or “no” on the submissions, and in the next two rounds, members rated contenders on a scale of one to five based on how well they fit the criteria outlined for the mascot. In between rounds, members participated in conference calls to decide on cutoffs for the next round.

Paul Gramieri ’17, an AAS senator who will help narrow the list further in February, recognized the difficulty in this complicated process and applauded the committee for its work so far.

“The mascot selection process is inherently difficult, since there are so many constituents who each have different opinions,” he said. “So, given the circumstances, I think that the mascot committee has done a good job of making sure that everyone’s voices are heard.”

Looking through the list, he noted that it has “a lot of options for people with varying opinions.”

Among members of the student body, there is a variety of strong opinions.

“I like the aces,” said DJ Williams ’20. “It has so many positive connotations. An ace is someone who is quick-witted, and Amherst students are known to be on top of their game. Also, we could do so many cool puns on shirts, like ‘We got an ace up our sleeve.’” She expressed disinterest toward large animal candidates. “I saw a dinosaur and mammoth one and I was like, what? What does that have to do with anything?”

David Green ’18, however, dislikes the idea of aces. “I am against mascot ideas that are completely intangible, such as aces, or those that are simply colors,” he said in an online interview.

“We should avoid names that are already popularly used by other institutions or major league sports teams,” Green added. Instead, he favors the mammoth. “It has all the advantages of dinosaurs and mastodons, which have inherent grandeur, but also contains nearly all the letters in ‘Amherst,’ and ‘Amherst Mammoths’ contains a delightful assonance,” he wrote.

“Some of the mascot choices seem too ethereal, in that they come off more as an idea rather than a concrete entity that the Amherst student body can be represented under,” Andrew Kim ’18 said in an online interview. He supported the suggestion of the hamster because of its simplicity, allowing “students to dress creatively during homecoming games and other Amherst-related festivities.”

He added that his opinion was also swayed by the fact that “hamsters are pretty darn cute.”