Charles "Chuck" Becker
the new Spartan mascot
Charles "Chuck" Becker embodies the concept of team spirit. When the call went out last spring for a 2007-2008 Spartan mascot, he applied for and earned the position. Now, he's working to pump up the crowd and inject blue and white fever into athletic and university-wide events.
"I go to all of the home football games. I'm trying to make it to the soccer games, as well as events where people request the official mascot," said Becker, a senior from Louisville, Ky.
One soccer game at which Becker as the university mascot will definitely be in attendance is the October 6 Homecoming game, when the Spartans varsity men's and women's teams takes on Brandeis University at Case Field at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively.The campus community can join the Spartan mascot to participate in several activities during Alumni Weekend and Homecoming. On October 5, Blue and White Day, the campus community is invited to wear school colors and Spartan gear. Departments can decorate or post homecoming signs for a chance to win a campus Spirit Contest. Also planned are the traditional homecoming parade and all-campus homecoming tailgate before the game on October 6 and a homecoming dance after it.
In addition to his duties as the new Spartan mascot, Becker is studying biomedical engineering, with minors in Japanese, political science and entrepreneurship. An officer in the Sigma Nu fraternity, as well as president of Alpha Eta Mu Beta Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, he also serves as vice president of programming for the Interfraternity Congress and secretary of the Order of Omega.
Colleen Barker-Williamson, director of student activities and leadership, said the selection committee—comprised of representatives from Student Activities and Leadership, Greek Life and Athletics—wanted the Spartan mascot to be someone who not only would excite the crowd but also could serve as an ambassador for the university.
The group looked at mascot programs at other universities and came up with the following criteria for the upper-class, volunteer position:
Becker fit the bill.
"Chuck is amazing. He's an involved student and a wonderful student leader," she said. "We want the Spartan mascot to be a coveted position and experience. We'd like to create a legacy with this."
"I've been to a lot of hockey and football games. I love cheering because it's a fun way to put a certain mentality to good use," Becker said about the energy needed to get the crowd on its feet.
To help rev up the fans at university events, the mascot even has a new custom-made costume: a leather skirt with hand stitching and a chest plate, designed by a local artist.
Did he take classes or lessons in team spirit? "I've had no formal training," Becker said. "I don't say to myself, 'I should start a cheer now.' I walk around and mingle and I just want to make it fun for other people no matter how embarrassing it is for them."
If Becker can't attend a game or event, the campus community can still get riled up via "Spartie," a life-size plush mascot who is a trusty sidekick to the main Spartan. The goal is to have several people serve in this capacity, Barker-Williamson said. Sparties need to have a great sense of humor, be athletic, embody the Spartan ideals and be good-will ambassadors.To request an appearance by the Spartan mascot at an athletic, alumni or university event, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
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