Editorial: Stars shine bright at UIS


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UIS athletics’ identity crisis is getting old.  While we understand that many schools’ athletic teams have ferocious mascots to energize the crowd and intimidate the opposing team, it is refreshing that UIS is not one of these schools.

UIS is more laid back and fun than other schools.  So our mascot should reflect that.  We have an athletics department because our students enjoy sports.

There is no reason to discard Prairie Stars and send poor Cosmo to the unemployment office.  We believe that the effort to change this school’s mascot is a complete waste of time, money, and is disrespectful to everyone proud to be a Prairie Star.

Recently, UIS paid Studio Simon, a Kentucky-based company, about $20,000 to come up with ideas for a new University mascot and logo, as reported in a State Journal-Register article.

If we do get a new mascot, that will just mean even more expense with new uniforms and signs.

The ideas, which include retaining the Prairie Stars or shortening the name to Stars, were outlined in public forums before Thanksgiving break.  These choices include: the Mammoths, Sabers, Springers, and Stampede.

These options seem odd.  Half of these choices are extinct and it is difficult to tell what the other half are without seeing the logo.

Mammoths are extinct.  The Saber mascot is a saber-toothed tiger (which is also extinct), not a sword.  Surprisingly enough, the Springer mascot is a dog and not Jerry Springer.  The Stampedes are American buffalo.

Regardless of UIS’ decision, any change in mascot or nickname needs to be done in a way that honors UIS’ history and at the same time doesn’t deface it.

Many alumni have graduated as Prairie Stars and are proud of their alma mater.  If UIS were to get rid of that mascot, it shows disrespect for every UIS and Sangamon State University graduate.

Therefore, we suggest keep the name Prairie Stars and just use ‘Stars’ for short.  This will offer a change, but will honor UIS’ legacy.

Recently, UIS has put much effort in creating the new Leadership Lived brand for the University.  We believe our mascot should reflect this.

The name ‘Stars’ complements the UIS brand.  A star could be associated with a leader.  College athletes are often, by nature of their public performances, seen as stars of sorts. Certainly, college athletes should be examples of Leadership Lived.

Changing the UIS mascot name would take a lot of time, money and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. We’re unclear as to how a new nickname and mascot will boost the win totals for UIS athletics, or how it will boost school spirit. A mascot cannot be blamed for a team having a poor season or the school lacking in spirit and pride.

The wisest course: Save time and money and stay with the Prairie Stars.