After three years riling up the crowds on athletics teams, introducing students to campus at orientation and representing the blue and gray at events for practically every school in the university, senior Aaron Byers, known around campus as the Case Western Reserve University Spartan, is graduating.
The Madison, Ohio, native saw becoming the Spartan as a “tremendous opportunity to represent the university and get involved,” at the end of his first year, he said.
And get involved he did. Being the sole university mascot is a hefty role for one student to handle, and as the Spartan, Byers covered football and basketball games, orientation traditions, Springfest, Hudson Relays, homecoming, alumni tailgating events and everything in between.
While Byers, a history and psychology major who will join Teach for America Corps in Memphis after graduation, admitted it was a huge time commitment, he loved the opportunities it provided. “The best part was making people smile and spreading school spirit. It was also great to be so involved in so many aspects of university life. It gave me a much great understanding of everything happening on campus,” he said.
Next year, the role will continue to remain a leadership position but will be open to multiple students, said Colleen Barker-Williamson, director of Thwing Center for Programs & Leadership. In addition, the hope is that the “mascot team” will be students on work study.
“Clearly, it will take selecting multiple students to fill Aaron’s shoes,” Barker-Williamson said, noting that Byers was honored at the 2011 Student Leadership Awards Ceremony and received the Spartan Spirit Award.
So what qualities does the next Spartan need to possess? Byers said he or she obviously need to be outgoing and—perhaps most importantly—“ definitely someone who is not afraid of getting their picture taken with babies.”
Posted by: Emily Mayock, April 26, 2011 09:09 AM | News Topics: Students
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