In June, Arapahoe Community College (ACC) announced their new mascot: The Puma.
After a 15-year mascot absence, the college’s Student Life department decided it was time to bring one back, especially during the development of the Sturm Collaboration Campus in Castle Rock, Colo. “I really do think the Sturm Collaboration Campus became a good springboard for that conversation.” States Dan Balski, Director of Student Life for ACC.
ACC was the only community college in Colorado that didn’t have a mascot. Now, that title is no more, according to Balski.
According to Balski, in order to select the new mascot, Student Life had to narrow down more than 100 survey options that were recommended by over 300 faculty, student and staff last spring.
Other than the mountain lion, top submission consisted of an owl and even a possibility of bringing back the coyote to characterize the college with. If you aren’t aware, the coyote was ACC’s most recent mascot before it was retired over a decade ago.
Eventually, with aid from the consultation of Northern Arapaho Leadership, Student Life sent the results to ACC’s College Leadership for an official decision; they believed the Puma symbolized the Colorado ecosystem and institution the best. Balski states. “We needed a mascot that would connect to Colorado and our local environment, something that would be inclusive in its representation.”
The puma itself is representative of perseverance and adaptability. Balski explains that these traits certainly connect with the student body. “You have students who are entering their educational experience at all stages of life. You have students who are taking classes with as high school students and you have folks who are taking classes and completing programs later in life.”
Balski expresses that the mascot will produce a sense of energy, generate more character for the school and improve campus culture. “Having a mascot now gives us more ability to really tap into school spirit in a different way.”
Balski believes that athletics is not essential for an academic institution to establish a mascot. “If you consider from a marketing standpoint that a lot of brands that are not educational institutions have mascots. It’s not always about athletics; it’s about creating a character for your brand.”
Since the college does not provide a selection of athletics, the mascot will be utilized on the college’s social media page, marketing videos, celebrations, ceremonies and community events.
So what about ACC’s existing brand of “move mountains?” Well, according to Balski, ACC’s marketing department will look to unify the two brands in the near future.
Opportunities for students and faculty to name this furry fellow will be offered later this semester. Students attending the college should expect to see the new logo-that was approved with collaboration from ACC’s Student Body Government (SGA)- on college apparel and goods in the upcoming months as the mascot shapes itself into the new face of ACC.