The first job of the new student-alumni mascot committee is to create a process that’s transparent, that maximizes participation and that builds community.

By Emily Gold Boutilier — April 14, 2016

How will Amherst choose a new mascot? This spring a committee of students and alumni is beginning to answer that question.

The Mascot Committee held its first meeting on April 1. Its next meetings will be on April 15 and April 29. Most of its 17 members (whose ranks may grow) are drawn from two existing groups—the Student Traditions Committee and the Alumni Executive Committee’s Mascot Task Force. 

“Our job is to create a process that’s transparent and that allows our various constituencies—alumni, students, faculty and staff—to express their opinions,” says Alumni Executive Committee Chair Annette Sanderson ’82, who serves on the new group. “It’s our goal to listen, and to be inclusive.”

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A new mascot should be something “we can all rally around,” said the Board of Trustees statement. 

So far, the group has endorsed a set of guiding principles. These state that the decision-making process must ensure transparency, build community, maximize participation and create connections among students and alumni.

The other alumni members are Joe McDonald ’58 (chair), Tania de Sousa Dias ’13, Aimee Carroll Flynn ’99, Steve Gang ’72, Mike Mulligan ’68, Ace Roesch ’08 and Tom Sullivan ’78.

Student members are Brianna Cook ’16, Harrison Haigood ’18, Virginia Hassell ’16, Sam Keaser ’17E, Olivia Pinney ’17, Siraj Sindhu ’17, Micayla Tatum ’16 and Association of Amherst Students President Tomi Williams ’16.

College Archivist Michael Kelly is also a member.

“We don’t want it to be top-down,” says Keaser. “We’re all very committed to the College, to finding a new mascot and a process that works—one that’s democratic and open.”

The committee will propose to President Biddy Martin later this year its recommended process for engaging the community in the choice of a new mascot.

The committee came to be following the January Board of Trustees statement, which noted the importance of convening a group that would involve as many people as possible in finding  “something—something organically associated with Amherst, reflecting our collective history—that we can all rally around.”

For updates and background, go to Contact the committee at