Future University of North Georgia students will have the final say on the new school’s mascot.
According to a press release issued by North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College — the two schools that will merge to form the University of North Georgia — students will have final choice from a pool of three finalists: Golden Eagles, Nighthawks and Warriors.
“The goal of selecting the new mascot is to further unify our institutions and to positively and distinctively represent the new institution, the competitiveness of its athletic program, and student spirit,” said Bonita C. Jacobs, president of North Georgia.
Gainesville’s current mascot is the Fighting Geese, while North Georgia’s student body adopted the Saint Bernard, more commonly referred to as the Saints, in 1972.
“We have three wonderful options for students to choose from and any of these would represent our new institution well. The new mascot will serve as a rallying point for the new University of North Georgia,” Jacobs said.
Rachel Botts, a sophomore at Gainesville State, said she was a fan of choosing Nighthawks as the mascot.
“I kind of like the Nighthawks,” said Botts. “It’s kind of different and I’ve never heard of a school having Nighthawks before.”
The implementation committee felt it was important, once three names were selected from more than 750 submissions stemming from more than 9,000 completed surveys, to kick the final decision back to the students.
“Students are our primary stakeholder group on campus,” said Kate Maine, North Georgia’s spokeswoman. “It’s important to have them included in this process. And it’s really something to build community across campuses and students are a large part of that.”
The students on Gainesville State’s campus seemed to appreciate the option.
“It connects the school more with the students instead of just giving the school all the power to choose,” said Aaron Howard, freshman. “So letting the students choose is kind of a way to connect with the students.”
Howard said he didn’t really have a preference on a mascot.
The new institution plans to use the color scheme of blue, white and gold — combining North Georgia’s current colors and Gainesville State’s previous colors. The university will also continue to use the “athletic spirit mark” of the interlocking “NG.”
“We are doing that because if you look at athletic facilities and that sort of thing that are already branded in certain colors, it helps reduce any costs associated with potential change,” said Maine. “We’re trying to be good stewards of the resources we have.”
The voting for students will be limited to one per person based on email address and will be open today through Oct. 5. Once the results have been tallied, an announcement will be made.
The school’s new mascot logo will be unveiled in January 2013, officials said.
School officials must turn in the new institution’s prospectus to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools by Oct. 1 for its approval this winter.
Once SACS approves the prospectus, the final approval will move to the state Board of Regents.
The consolidation of the two schools is scheduled to be implemented in January 2013.