As a whole, Main Campus is a beautiful place. It has a nice mix of older gothic buildings on North Broad Street, while buildings such as the Student Center give the campus an edgy, futuristic look.
But remove the large Ts and would you know what campus you are on or that we are the Temple Owls? The only problem is that Temple’s campus has no central gathering point, no defining characteristic.
To remedy this, we need a large statue of Hooter the Owl on campus.
People may disagree with me, but the success and the image of the athletic department are important when it comes to the school’s overall image. Schools report a spike in enrollment after a football or basketball championship, and some schools are fairly low-profile, except for their team mascot and their best athletic team.
Some of the best advertising schools receive is through its mascot and athletics, and many schools try to make their campus reflect this. At Pennsylvania State University, they’re the Nittany Lions and they know it. Their campus has a large Nittany Lion statue as a testament to school spirit and a common identity. Their mascot is an extension of the brand of the school and the athletic department.
Even Drexel University, recently voted the country’s most unsightly campus, has a statue of a dragon. Although, in true Drexel fashion, the Dragon has one paw up in such a way that it looks more suited to be a “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” cast member. Thus proving that Dragons not only exist, but they also might be homosexual.
But, if you take a walk down Broad Street, there is no indication that we are the Owls. Temple has no defining aspect to its campus that reflects our mascot, our spirit or common identity. The closest the university can muster is the concrete slab jutting out of Berks Mall known as the Bell Tower. If you look at some of the university’s promotional materials, they tout the Bell Tower as a beacon of Temple’s identity.
However, what does the Bell Tower convey about the spirit of the university? We’re boring, rough, and can tell time.
Instead, Temple should construct a large statue of Hooter the Owl on campus. A Hooter statue could also be a tour stop for our Owl Ambassadors and could speak more for campus community than the Welcome Center ever could. If I had my choice, it would be fiercer than Drexel’s dragon and in a prominent area on campus, such as the open circle on Liacouras Walk across from Maxi’s.
The statue could also feature an excerpt from Russell Conwell’s “Diamonds in the Rough,” speech, giving a nod to Temple’s past while still looking ahead to what is to come. In a school devoid of many “traditions,” the owl statue could help bring the campus together under a banner other than the Bell Tower. Although, a Hooter statue perched atop the Bell Tower would look remarkable.
While we have a miniature owl in the alumni circle, the statue does not draw much attention, and compared to some other schools, it’s quite underwhelming.
When we think of school mascots, they are usually something fierce: lions, wildcats,
and hawks. Temple gets the short end of the stick with an owl. I remember having to talk myself out of thinking an owl was an inadequate mascot as I applied here, and I’m still trying. Therefore, as a school with an owl as our mascot, we can use all of the help we can get.
As the days of being a “suitcase college” are dwindling down and as the university adds more housing, there is bound to be a more vibrant community around Temple. The college needs a common identity.
Honestly, it’s about time we had a mascot other than Bill Cosby.
Sean Blanda can be reached at email@example.com.