My grandparents, like so many other Carnegie Mellon parents and grandparents, have the telltale sticker affixed to their back window that says “Carnegie Mellon.” Theirs, in particular, also has the image of a Scottie dog next to the name of the university.
The terrier’s image has become popular in other aspects of my home life. My grandmother purchased a statue of a Scottie dog shortly after my acceptance. It greets visitors at the front door during all four seasons. And while she is still unaware that the dog isn’t an official mascot of the university, its symbolism is still as powerful as ever. For my family, it’s a reminder that I’m at school striving for bigger and better things. It’s a symbol of the pride my family has in me, and the pride I have in my school.
Despite appearances, the Scottie dog is not an official mascot, a fact brought to the forefront of campus attention with the recent meetings of the Mascot Task Force to discuss the possibility of selecting an “official” mascot. As of now, we’re known as the Tartans, which leads me to assume that our only actual “mascot” now is a piece of tartan plaid.
We Carnegie Mellon students seem to be at a juncture when it comes to choosing an official mascot. The task could prove more complicated than originally thought. While I have my own feelings about what a mascot should represent to me, each student has his or her own preferences, because everyone has a different experience.
A mascot is supposed to unite the entire campus during large gatherings, times when we can put the books down for a few seconds and cheer for our peers.
And with the recent meetings of the Mascot Task Force last Monday and Wednesday to discuss the possibility of finally choosing an “official” mascot, having a singular, unifying mascot may be closer now than ever before.
While some of the mascot possibilities seem absurd to me, I have close friends who would love to be known as the Carnegie Mellon Loch Ness Monsters or the “Tartan Tigahs.” Though I’ve made it obvious what my tastes are with regard to Carnegie Mellon’s mascot, I feel that regardless of which mascot is actually chosen, it’s important that the mascot be the most representative of Carnegie Mellon’s campus as a whole.
But that is easier said than done. If there is one thing I have learned from my time here, it’s that Carnegie Mellon is extremely diverse. It is hard to imagine that any one mascot could accurately portray the variety of individuals on campus.
The editorial board experienced these diverse preferences firsthand, as we struggled to write an editorial that would represent all the members of the Tartan. We had a rather difficult time cementing any particular viewpoint, and even the one we did manage to share was not unanimous. And if you read the editorial, you will see that one of us wishes our mascot was the Loch Ness Monster.
Perhaps the only issue I have with selecting an “official” mascot is that we lose a tiny piece of Carnegie Mellon-hood that made us different from the other universities. We were just plaid.
And that is why, even against my personal preferences, I realize that perhaps being the Tartan plaid is a perfect fit. With all of its colors, tartan plaid already represents the diverse mixture of people on campus. Without that mixture, without our own unique, plaid-like human network, it just wouldn’t be the same.
Here’s to Carnegie Mellon being forever plaid.