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Searching for the Vaquero Mascot to be revealed in 2017

BY Bryan Ramos | THE RIDER

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Every university needs a mascot to identify with. UTRGV, now in its second year, is still working to build the perfect mascot that accurately represents the university, the student body and the Rio Grande Valley as a whole.

The Mascot Committee at UTRGV is made up of representatives from the Student Government Association, alumni, the Campus Programming Board, a student-athlete, two students, one faculty member and staff from Athletics, Admissions, Student Life and the Spirit Program.

They have spent more than a year creating and designing the Vaquero, the mascot recommended by UTRGV President Guy Bailey.

Student Activities Director Cindy Mata-Vasquez, who oversees the mascot committee, said it’s important for sports to have a mascot that is available and present.

“We’re taking our time to make sure we do it right. We don’t want the students to have a mascot that they’re not going to be happy with,” Mata-Vasquez said. “We want something that they’re going to be happy with and embody who our student population is. Yes, we may be taking longer than expected on the process but we also want to make sure that the process is being done correctly with as much student input as possible.”

Last year, more than 2,000 students responded to a survey from the mascot committee about different characteristics the mascot should have. Students can expect more surveys as their opinion is desired in the design of the Vaquero costume.

Sophomore theater major Karina Molina said an actual Vaquero mascot could help boost campus morale for a university with 27,568 students and 14 Division I sports programs.

“When you go to sports events you expect to be pumped up. One of the key things that allow us to do that would be the mascot just being fun and taking pictures of them. It makes things more exciting for everybody,” Molina said. “I take pride in our culture and I think having a Vaquero, which hasn’t been done before, would be a really cool mascot.”

This year, the mascot committee is partnering with the fine arts department to help create the perfect fit.

“What we’re doing this year is partnering with one of the professors from the fine arts department who focuses on costume design and she’s working on developing a group of students that are experts in costume design to help us finalize the actual costume for the mascot,” Mata-Vasquez said.

The mascot committee aims to have the mascot ready by Best Week Ever in 2017, the first week of next year’s fall semester.

Anyone with questions about the mascot committee and its process may email spirit@utrgv.edu.

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