The earliest recorded usage of the term "Illini" appears to have been in January 1874, when the weekly student newspaper changed its name from The Student to The Illini. What began as a joke and a viral meme among Illini students has turned into an official petition to make "Alma Otter" the new mascot of the University of Illinois. It's a bird native to Illinois. There’s also another mascot option in play from sophomore Mike Skibski, who looked into the history behind the “Fighting Illini” and found the term surfaced in the 1920s as Memorial … Hulsey, a senior majoring in physics, grew up on a farm near Kinmundy where kingfishers lived on a pond. The student election commission released results Monday night, two days sooner than planned: 4,222 voted in favor of the Belted Kingfisher while 3,597 were against it. Chief Illiniwek symbolized the Illini, a confederation of indigenous tribes who historically had inhabited much of present-day Illinois; however the clothing and regalia for the symbol was from the Siouxnation. An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup. However, it would be nice to finally get a unifying mascot back on the fields and courts to support the Illini as they try their best to win (but typically donât). 1947 - 1956 1989 - 2003 2004 - 2013 2014 - Pres The mascot would have been the first female mascot in the Big Ten. Hulsey was invited to present the kingfisher to members of the student governmentâs publicity committee, who liked it, and they took it to the full student government meeting on Oct. 16. It lives here,â she said. Sunshine and a few afternoon clouds. Wait- please donât leave. Thatâs right, I am in full support of this new mascot. Many simply said âBring back the Chief.â At least one critic argued that collegiate teams with bird mascots typically donât fare well. In 2007, the University of Illinois stopped using Chief Illiniwek as their mascot in order to respect the cultural heritage of the Illini tribe. So what does that look like; how is it going to be utilized in new ways?â he said. The University of Illinois student government is offering a “buyback” of “racist” merchandise featuring the school’s former mascot, Chief Illiniwek. Let me introduce you to the âAlma Otterâ, a mascot based on the famous statue on campus called the Alma Mater. Have the latest local news delivered every afternoon so you don't miss out on updates. The Fighting Illini mascot, Chief Illiniwek, first appeared in 1926 when the assistant director of bands at the school got the idea of having a Native American war dance performed at halftime of football games. Ultimately, Hulsey said she doesnât have a âpersonal investmentâ in the kingfisher, but âI want a mascot that can go have fun, crazy antics on the field.â, She thinks the other ideas popularized to date âall have merit.â, âI think the Alma Otter is adorable. Now I know what youâre thinking: This is ridiculous! The first performance ended with a drum major, dressed as the University of Pennsylvania’s mascot, who met Illiniwek at midfield with a peace pipe and the two walked off the field arm in arm. Receive occasional local offers from our website and its advertisers. âItâs just a matter of finding something we can all get behind, which is incredibly hard with a student body of 51,000 students. URBANA â Alma Otter may have gone down in defeat, but mascot talk at the University of Illinois goes on. … Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. The latest entry: the belted kingfisher, an appropriately colored bird native to Illinois and inspiration for UI senior Spencer Hulsey, who came up with the idea. Error! The nickname of the athletics team is the Fighting Illini. Some clouds. Beyond the history of otters in this great state, the pun opportunity is also too enormous to pass up. Hulsey thinks it would be unique for Illinois to have a female mascot, âwhich I donât think is used by any other college.â. Hulsey started sketching out a design one day just for fun while learning Adobe Illustrator and thought, âThis would be a good idea.â. The resolution called for … Alma Otter represents just the tip of the iceberg. âIt seems like the majority of students are ready for something new,â Josellis said. But the school wants to select a mascot to be on the sideline and at events… For 12 years, people have fought over whether or not taking away the Chief was justified and what the new mascot should be, and for 12 years, the games and campus events have continued without a mascot. But some just didnât like that particular concept.
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