Brookings Residential College residents vote bees as new mascot

Diva Harsoor | Contributing Reporter

The residents of Brookings Residential College celebrated the college’s 20th anniversary by revealing its new mascot, the Bees, Oct. 23.

Residential College Director Justavian Tillman announced the decision to select a new mascot in an email to residents Sept. 5 in order to be “more inclusive in its representation of all Brookings residents,” as well as in alignment with the push for for all residential colleges to have animal mascots.

Residents submitted nominations for the new mascot and then participated in two rounds of voting to determine the final winner. The Bees, the Bears, the Penguins and the Bulldogs were among the options in the first round. The second and final round was a run-off between the Bees and the Bulldogs, with the Bees coming out on top.

Gregg resident sophomore Ethan Sauerberg, who suggested the winning moniker, explained that the submission was made partially in jest.

“If I remember correctly, I wrote in the potential slogans section, ‘Buzz buzz buzz, Brookings gets buzzed,’” Sauerberg said.

Despite her initial objection to the mascot, Gregg resident sophomore Mandy Huang believed the new mascot was particularly fitting, due to the bumble bees that buzz around her residential college in the spring.

“I now proudly and excitedly have a Brookings Bee sticker on my water bottle,” Huang wrote in a statement to Student Life.

However, not all residents agreed with the outcome. According to freshman Ethan Wedge who lives in Lien, the Bulldogs were his preferred choice.

“I’m not extremely excited, given the other choices that were available… It was a runoff between the Bulldogs and the Bees, and I felt as if there was a clear superior option, but the inferior option was voted for,” Wedge said.

Although Sauerberg was surprised that his joke submission won, he said he was pleased to have an uncommon mascot, especially one with such great environmental significance. He hoped that in addition to making Brookings residents feel “a little more welcome,” the new mascot will remind them of the crucial importance of bees and other species for humans’ basic needs.

“Even if I put the bees in as a joke, I think it’s nice to have a unique mascot, and bees are a really under-appreciated part of our ecosystem” Sauerberg said. “I think they get a bad rap because people associate them with nasty bugs…but bees are a really incredible animal. They play an enormous role in pollinating both human agriculture and wild ecosystems, and have been shown to be quite an intelligent insect.”

Additional reporting by Matthew Friedman

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