This is a special April Fools Story for The Campus Voice.
Since 1965, the ongoing debate to have a mascot has been a hot-button issue throughout the college. The closest Florida State College at Jacksonville has come to having an official mascot was in 1967. During that time, one of the Jacksonville Zoo’s most famous mainstays was Zorro. Zorro was a male, wild-born black jaguar that arrived in Jacksonville in August, 1967. Between the fall and spring semesters of 1967 and 1968, a vote was held to co-brand the logo between the zoo and the college, but failed to pass–defeated in a 13 to 12 vote to establish the Jacksonville Jaguar as a mascot.
As we fast forward to 1987, many other attempts to create a brand based logo for then-named FCCJ were carried out. Notable contenders for the coveted mascot position included Sam the Student Tucan, Jaxy the Nurse, and Pen-Dexter–a hybrid human-like figure combined with a pen. In 1987 Zorro passed away. Longtime Jacksonville Zoo Director Noah Hanna said, “we were devastated at the loss. Zorro entertained hundreds of thousands of visitors during his time here. In fact, his descendants to this day are scattered across zoos all over America, Europe and Russia.”
After the passing of Zorro, the zoo once again pushed to have a tie-in with local community institutions. Students campaigned to bring in Zorro as a mascot, citing economic factors, as well as the possibility for sports franchises to take notice. Former student Andrew Sushko was found on record as stating “one day, we’re going to have sports in this city. Wouldn’t this make a great name for a hockey team?” The new initiative failed in a 17 to 8 vote, leaving students discouraged, and the college at a loss for what would have been a large economic windfall.
After many years of fruitless debate, the campuses of FSCJ became home to a new visitor–Canada Geese. These large, wild birds identifiable by their black head and neck, white patches on the face and brown body, quickly took up residence on FSCJ’s South and Kent campuses. Originally only visiting during the winter months, these geese have now become a permanent fixture at the college. Citing warm temperatures, abundance of food supply–both naturally and provided by students–and traffic safety protocols, the geese are now just as common to see on campus as students. With those key metrics in mind, the idea for a mascot was again brought up in 2013 at the mandated college name change from Florida Community College at Jacksonville to Florida State College at Jacksonville. Missing the opportunity to co-brand as a Jaguar (now taken by the local sports franchise), the idea of making the geese the official mascot of FSCJ took hold.
Talks have been ongoing, and last night after a weekly meeting by the Board of Trustees of Florida State College at Jacksonville, we here at The Campus Voice are proud to announce that after a unanimous vote, the Canada Goose is now the official mascot of FSCJ. “Finally, the things we’ve fought for have come to fruition at this great institution,” said 1972 SGA President Dana Washenbarn.
While the news story is still fresh, campus officials were quick to tell us that we can “expect t-shirts, notebooks and iPad covers branded with the logo and the goose in the coming months. We will also be holding a campuswide election to name the bird…this is a great time to be a student at Florida State College at Jacksonville.”