We need a steed: It’s time for a live mascot

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Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/ Charlotte Bassett

The Charlie the Charger statue, West Haven.

Kayla Mutchler, Editor-in-Chief

University of Connecticut, University of Colorado Boulder, University of North Alabama, Louisiana State University, Yale University. Some of these universities are hundreds of miles apart; others are in the same state. But what do they all have in common?

Student life? No. Similarly priced? No. Best gameday atmospheres? Well, that depends on who you’re asking.

The real answer? Each school has a live mascot, and it is time for the University of New Haven to follow suit.

The university is home to the Chargers, a medieval warhorse. Charlie is the armor-wearing, blue and white horse mascot students know and love. Most recently, in 2020, the university constructed a bronze charger statue in front of the Beckerman Recreation Center. While both add to Charger pride, they are incomparable to the energy that a live mascot could bring.

Picture this: it’s a Saturday in mid-October. The Chargers are undefeated this season, and it’s the annual homecoming game. You’re sitting in the bleachers, eagerly awaiting kickoff. But before the game can begin, it’s time for the pregame ritual. The band, dance team and cheerleaders create their tunnel for the football players, but they’re not coming out just yet. The cannon fires and a live charger with a medieval knight guiding the steed to victory charges onto the field, ringing in the game day festivities.

It’s time for that feeling to become a reality.

Students deserve to have their tuition go to something that they can improve their overall university experience. Of course, having a charger on campus wouldn’t be a cheap feat, but it would be an investment worth a lifetime. Horses can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. From thoroughbreds to American quarter horses, Appaloosas and more, each breed comes at a different price. The steed would also need food, a stable to live in, a stable hand (if not multiple) and, possibly, a companion animal, since horses are social herd animals.

In addition to the initial cost of the horse, upkeep can cost up to $6,000 in its first year of ownership, including bedding, equipment, healthcare and more––but this is expected with an animal. A stable for the charger, too, could cost anywhere from $10 to $150 per square foot.

But the cost will be worth it when the morale of students is increased.

As the university also pushes itself to a Division I standing, it is important that it keeps up with the standards of other DI schools. Take the University of Southern California or Florida State University––both schools have steeds with people who ride them for the ultimate game day ambiance.

And even if the DI transition doesn’t happen for a few years, the investment could start paying off immediately. The University of North Alabama has a lion that represents the school, and they’re also DII. During the football season, about 1,000 spectators visit the lion per week. Imagine how many visitors our charger would have.

Our beloved charger could be used for more than just game day. There could be events for children to ride it, an area for students to watch it roam the pasture and perhaps even opportunities to pet it. With the stressful life of college always looming on the backs of its students, having a comfort animal on campus would help to alleviate some of that stress.

Happiness, energy, community, entertainment and excitement––this could all come true with the investment of a live mascot.