UIS and athletics, assessing the need for a new school mascot

UIS Athletic Director Kim Pate is looking to promote school spirit and pride. That something may just be a new mascot.

“It’s an assessment on whether our current mascot needs to be changed. It’s time for us to review based on what we have in front of us.” The goal for Pate, students, and athletes is to assess whether getting a name change or different mascot would affect the university itself. “I’m speaking from the athletic side, and we do a lot of recruitment. A lot of potential student athletes’ aren’t familiar with UIS,” Pate said.

Part of the issue for Pate and students is the name Prairie Stars.  Basketball team member Jamall Millson, a computer science freshman, thinks it doesn’t evoke enough fear, “at least change the name to stars; prairie star is really not that intimidating.”

Pate says students and other faculty brought up the issue so much, she decided to take a hard look at whether a change would be possible. “I thought I would at least bring it forth with some consideration. I first meet with students and athletes on school pride, and they brought up issues with the school’s athletic name,” Pate said.

Athletic Faculty Representative Marcel Yoder thinks it’s good to begin the conversation. “It’s a fact that athletics are looking into it. There’s not a secret about the nature of the process,” Yoder said.

Yoder talked about questions asked in meetings such as beginning to discuss a change and if this is something students want.

“If you’re going to go through this process, we have to do it in a way that solicits feedback from members of the community and alumni so no one’s left out,” Yoder explained.

The one issue that has affected the school is that it’s a new one. “We’re a young university and from my perspective there’s been a lot of change very fast,” Pate said.

UIS was founded only 42 years ago, and within the last ten years five sports have been added.

Pate explains that maintaining the same environment from the athletic side would help with recruitment as well as increase school spirit.  Both Yoder and Pate hope this rebranding discussion will lead to greater things.

“We need to celebrate who we are as a school,” Pate said.


Want your voice to be heard? Head to our website at uisjournal.com to vote yes or no for a new mascot for UIS.