By Sophie Hobbs
Serving as one of Bluffton University’s mascots is a secretive and significant job that requires participants to keep their true identities a secret and to always have a positive attitude.
The Beavers have been Bluffton’s mascot for quite a while now, cheering at games, greeting students, and attending university events. J Denny Beaver has been representing Bluffton for seven years. Jenny is a relatively new addition to the team, serving her third year at Bluffton.
Many Bluffton student have asked the question, “Why Beavers?” A.C Burcky chose these industrious animals because they shared many admirable traits with Bluffton students, such as resourcefulness, good work ethic and the ability to accomplish more with less.
In order to become a mascot, students must apply secretly. If accepted, these students will have to keep their jobs a secret for their entire term as a beaver. While on the job, they are prohibited from speaking so that their voices cannot be recognized.
Not only must the participants keep their identities a secret, they must also have at least a 2.5 grade point average and be in good disciplinary standing with the university.
The university’s 2015-16 beavers were revealed shortly after winter break. At one of the home basketball games, each mascot revealed themselves to their classmates for the first time.
Not only were this year’s beavers all female, they were all education majors. Two of the four volunteers are also current resident advisors.
In order to keep up with their busy schedules, four student volunteers bring the Beavers to life. Over the course of the year, these students work in pairs to accommodate work, sports, and school schedules and ensure that the Beavers attend as many athletic events as possible.
For Mickie Gonwick, who played the part of J Denny Beaver, interacting with different crowds was her favorite part of the experience.
“In the suit, there are no cliques, or people you can or cannot approach…J Denny is for everybody,” said Gonwick.
Time in the suit isn’t always peachy though. According to Hannah Krull, being in the suit for an entire game was a workout.
“It is a lot of fun but you sweat a lot,” said Krull.
The Bluffton Beavers are known for their energy levels during and after events, and part of the mascot training process requires that the participant undergo a physical in order to make sure they are in good physical condition.
Krull also mentioned her favorite time in the suit was when girls from her high school came to an event and danced with her, but had no idea that she was the one inside the suit.
Students wishing to try out for one of the beaver positions may fill out an application, and if selected will go through interviews, and a trial performance in the costume.
“[It] can’t hurt to try…it is so fun and the stories you can tell are so funny,” said Krull.
This year’s beavers were Hannah Krull and Jenna Moreo as Jenny Beaver, and Mickie Gonwick and Abby Jerger as J Denny Beaver.