UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

And ‘Z’ winner is!

More than 2,300 students took to online balloting for their favorite Fighting Hawks mascot design

Fighting Hawks Mascot design Z
A majority of more  than 2,300 students voted for Fighting Hawks design option “Z,” which they found to be the best look for a school mascot. The pick is an an important milestone in a months-long process to bring UND’s new logo and branding to life. Image courtesy of UND Marketing & Creative Services.

We have a winner!

A majority of UND students voted for Fighting Hawks mascot design option “Z”, and UND President Mark Kennedy is ready to honor their pick.

“Our students have seized the opportunity to further define the Fighting Hawks identity, which will be a source of pride for UND fans for generations to come,” Kennedy said. “The initiative has been a student-led effort from the beginning, so it’s only fitting that they ultimately defined its outcome through this vote.”

Online polls closed Wednesday evening after staying open for two days. More than 2,300 students voted for what they found to be the best look. It’s an important milestone in a months-long process to bring UND’s new logo and branding to life.

“From the original committee to help narrow the scope, to the final vote being comprised of students, the University is showing that students’ opinions matter, and that this is truly a student-led initiative,” Erik Hanson, UND student body president, said. “The high amount of participation in a process like this at such a busy time of the year for students is something that we’re very excited about.”

Fighting Hawks Option Z
Fighting Hawks mascot design option “Z.” Image courtesy of UND Marketing & Creative services.

Full results

The vote totals were as follows:

Z – 843

X – 775

Y – 684

Associate Dean of Students Cassie Gerhardt says she appreciates the leadership students provided in the development and voting process.

“Our students’ passion for UND and their desire to have a mascot build on and spread that passion will benefit UND at athletic competitions and other events,” she said. “I can’t wait to see it!”

A 17-person committee of UND students and staffers developed the standards for what comprised a Fighting Hawks mascot; Ohio-based graphic design company Rickabaugh Graphics delivered three 2-D designs for consideration.

“A room of 15 or so individuals can help guide the design process, but a true vote from the student body is necessary,” said Kara Kohns, a student representative on the UND Mascot Committee. “Their vote provides this committee with the true answer of which mascot they want next to them while cheering on our student-athletes.”

Kohns added that having a two-dimensional logo was just the beginning, and they tried to keep its strong yet simplistic qualities in mind while considering the three-dimensional design.

“More detail went into the process of designing it than I ever would have thought,” she said. “Our mascot will let our Fighting Hawk come to life!”

Community connections

Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert, UND’s head football coach, and Athletics Director Bill Chaves both expressed excitement upon the conclusion of the vote. They’re both ready to see how a mascot can connect with the Grand Forks community and beyond.

“I’m really excited about having a mascot,” Coach Bubba said. “I believe it will be a great addition to the game day experience at all of our sporting events and it will help us brand and market our University. And, that’s not only on game days, but at University events in Grand Forks and across the region.”

“In collegiate athletics, having a mascot has proven to be a valuable tool,” said Chaves. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen mascots connect fans to a team on so many different emotional levels, whether you’re a five-year-old or long-time, season-ticket holder and I’m thrilled that we’re adding one here at UND.”

Brand forward

Hanson expanded on the idea of further building the Fighting Hawks brand, saying this decision on the mascot is a way of moving forward with UND’s athletic identity.

“At this point it’s about how we build that brand, how we make sure that our athletic teams have a common brand and identity that’s recognizable not just here, but across the country,” he said. “This really puts the 2-D logo into a form that can interact with students, the community, and be something that is the brand champion of UND.”

The idea for developing a mascot extends to last year when President Kennedy formed the UND Game Day Experience Committee – a group of UND Alumni searching for ways to enhance the Fighting Hawks fan experience. By January, a taskforce led by students brought the development process to fruition, along with the UND Mascot Committee.

The creation of the mascot has been financially supported by specific contributions from alumni. Members of the mascot committee have told UND Today that no state or student funds have been used, and North Dakota Athletics will handle maintenance costs once the mascot is hatched.

Now that the design has been chosen, the committee will be planning when to unveil the physical mascot. In an email to students across campus, outgoing student body president Cole Bachmeier announced that the naming process is under way. Students are able to submit their top three name suggestions.

“During the Fall 2018 semester, a student-led committee will discuss the names submitted by students,” he said in the message. “The final name will be selected by a vote of the student body. So, watch for more information to come in the fall and make sure to submit your suggestions for our new mascot’s name!”