By: Madison Walker
Although derived from the 19th century cannon that bears the insignia of Philip V that stands near the DeKalb entrance to campus our mascot, the Cannoneers, is a hot topic for scrutiny among the student body. Anyone who’s seen the now out of use mascot costume has been scarred for life from seeing it make its way across the gym floor. The question, however, is if that is the reason no one shows up to support their fellow students or is it just the lack of interest among the students in general? The Prattler sent out a survey to see student opinion and the only 8% of the people polled actually like the Cannoneer, where the 92% others felt very strongly that they do not like our current mascot and want a change to occur. Most comments about this included that it “doesn’t mean anything or represent the student body” or “doesn’t feel relevant to an art school” but most of the comments deemed that it was simply “outdated”.
No one seems to be excited to go to games and chant “go Cannoneers go” because no one can connect to it. Paul Petruccelli, Academic Computing Lab manager, Public Address Announcer for Pratt Men’s and Women’s Basketball, and overall fan of the Pratt Athletics had this to say;
“The Cannoneer is a great Mascot. He is unique. In his current form (rendering as graphic art) he is menacing, strong, & confident. Like a Cannon …a force to be reckoned with.”
The current logo for our mascot is indeed menacing, and if the school was able to get a better mascot costume for it perhaps more students could get behind the idea of the Cannoneers and cheer for them. Molly Glover, Junior Fashion design major, strongly thought we have a great mascot and that we just need a better mascot costume. She thinks our mascot should be a “CANNONEER but cooler… I’ll do it. Seriously. This dwarfish bobble headed thing is NOT what we want to see, but I don’t want to see a cat either”
Mr. Petruccelli does not think we need a mascot change either; “college sports students and communities have the ability to “get behind” a mascot and at many schools they have gone unchanged forever a century.” Most mascots don’t represent a school directly so why does Pratt need to? Of the people who agree that they do in fact like our mascot said that it’s “uniquely odd.” and that “Pratt students blow everyone else away” already.
The Prattler also asked students if they would be more inclined to go to games if the mascot was changed and the answer was surprising. The usual air students at Pratt give off is that they don’t care about the sports here at Pratt—but based on poll results it’s not the sports—it’s the mascot that keeps them at bay. 58% of students who took our poll said they would go to games more if the mascot were anything other than a Cannoneer. Where as only 26% said it didn’t matter either way they wouldn’t go to games. The other 16% were students who said they were graduating, or depending on their schedules, but some students asked if there were games.
There seems to be a problem with information getting around the students advertising these events. If there was a better system in telling students there was a home game on a Friday or Saturday night more people might be inclined to go sit and cheer for our school, Cannoneers or not.
92% of students said the mascot should be changed to the Pratt Cats, who didn’t see that one coming honestly? Teddy, Lestat, Higgins, Willoughby and the rest are unique to Pratt. Other schools only wish they had campus pets to make their days brighter. Pratt Cats sound better as well, and although most students probably just want fat Teddy’s face as the mascot we still need to come off menacing and fierce to our opponents in games. One student even suggested this; “Pratt Cats, follow our colors - gold and black - maybe a cougar or black leopard (jaguar)” which graphically would be stunning and intimidating but still be something the entire student body can relate to.
Mr. Petruccelli had one final thing to add;
“Ultimately I feel that it shouldn’t matter what your mascot is. If you enjoy sports at all and your schedule allows for it you should turn out to support your fellow students and peers. It’s almost like going out to support people as they put up their thesis exhibits. The student that participate in sports are making an extra special effort and time commitment to do something positive to represent Pratt here on campus and across the region when they play on the road. Don’t they deserve your support and encouragement in this endeavor just as much as if it were Painting, Sculpture, Design, Printing, ComD Survey, a Fashion Show, Film Screening, a Photo Exhibit, etc. In the end it has a whole lots less to do with whether you are supporting a Cannoneer or a Cat. I has to do with us all supporting each other in the Institute’s campus community whether we’re making Art or playing a Sport.”
Which is a fantastic point, why don’t students go out to games regardless of who we are? Sure we’re not a state school that makes sports anything huge—but we still need to support the students here who’s schedules are more packed than anyone else can even dream of, and show them their efforts aren’t in vain.
Support the school by going to as many games as you can!