Scotty brings out spirit around campus

School spirit may be in for a transformation, all at the hands of one small Scottie dog.

Last Tuesday, Skibo Gymnasium was filled with students acting like dogs. The students were auditioning to play Scotty, Carnegie Mellon’s official mascot, and wear the official mascot costume.

The students were asked to prepare a two-minute skit that featured the talents and abilities of Scotty with the hopes of representing the mascot in costume at upcoming university events. The auditions followed a busy week for the Scottie dog, in which she was honored by the Pittsburgh Scottie Club and met with the Carnegie Mellon Highland Ambassadors, who will be walking her and bringing her to events.

Many students hope that the mascot will bring a renewed sense of spirit to campus.

“I think we have a lot of school pride, but not necessarily school spirit. For example, we don’t have good attendance at football games,” said Lauren Gumbel, a sophomore cognitive psychology major and member of the varsity swim team. “Now that we have an actual mascot, I think that might really help.”

Allison Lukascy, a fifth-year architecture major, recognized the impact of the mascot while noting the past change in campus spirit.

“School spirit has grown exponentially in the past four years,” Lukascy said. “When I was a freshman, I had the impression that upperclassmen couldn’t wait to graduate and leave the university. You would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of supporters at the weekend football games.”

Lukascy contended that athletic attendance is just one of the things that have really improved.

Alauna Peterson, coach of the varsity cheerleading team and supervisor to the mascot performer, believes that spirit is once again on the rise. Peterson was in charge of Tuesday’s auditions.
“I can tell you some notable moments of the tryout,” Peterson said. “[There were] judges doing the ‘wave’ on command from a Scotty perspective, a Scottish jig set to contemporary music, and seemingly nice-looking props that were crushed upon forceful impact during a routine.”

Peterson said that students were encouraged to bring props, music, and signs.

According to Peterson, the mascot performer has been selected. However, due to the anonymous position, no information can be released about the students chosen or numbers at tryouts.
The mascot performer will appear at the Business Opportunities Conference Wednesday, as well as home football games and homecoming events.

“I’m excited to see what the first home football game will be like with our new mascot, the cheer team, and band getting the crowd going and look forward to a large turnout and participation among the student body,” Peterson said.

On Friday, Scotty herself was honored by the Pittsburgh Scottie Club and given a welcome basket.

The welcome took place in Tang Au Lab in Porter Hall, near the office of Larry Cartwright, professor of civil and environmental engineering and owner of Scotty. At Cartwright’s home, Scotty is affectionately known as Maggie and lives with her two scottie brothers, Chase and Murray.

The Carnegie Mellon Highland Ambassadors were present at the welcome ceremony, where they met Scotty for the first time.

The Highland Ambassadors interact with alumni and top university personnel such as the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Association Board, and VIP visitors to campus. They will soon take on the job of walking Scotty and accompanying her to university events.

Some students find spirit still lacking, however.

“If you look at the Kiltie Band alone, you’d say we have amazing spirit,” said David Kinskey-Lebeda, a sophomore civil engineering major and member of the Kiltie Band. “I, however, don’t think the school as a whole has much school spirit, but then again, athletic events, for example, aren’t exactly publicized much. I’ve never been encouraged to go to a game by someone.”

However, the mascot is not the only effort to increase spirit on campus.

Homecoming celebrations in late October of this year will include more events for alumni and a home football game, something that happened last year but was lacking in 2006.

“I’m proud to coach the cheer team at Carnegie Mellon and I know my athletes and all the athletic teams, coaches, and administration have got the spirit — I’d love to see even more of it reflected in the campus community at large,” Peterson said.