Birds, colors embody school spirit, still represent University today

News Editor and News Editor

A whirlwind of emotions may pass through one’s body when preparing for an important weekend. 

Making multiple phone calls, giving people assignments, decorating everything in brown and orange and making sure the University is spirit-ready for Homecoming weekend. These are just some of the many things Kristie Snouffer goes through as a member of the homecoming committee.

“The amount of dedication and work put into this weekend is crazy, but it’s always well worth all of the time put into it in the end,” said Snouffer, a junior and co-director of homecoming committee.

University spirit is the number one priority for this particular weekend, but doesn’t and shouldn’t stop there for students, faculty and staff members, she said.

“Spirit embodies everyone as a whole, and this weekend brings together the new and the old traditions we love so much,” Snouffer said. “It’s adding flare to old traditions.” 

Rumors

Rumors about the University’s colors and mascots have spread throughout the University during the years due to different stories that are told from one to the next.

Some students believe that the University took the Cleveland Brown’s colors, but the Browns actually took the University’s colors.

“They used to practice on our football field and adopted our colors,” said Michael Ginsburg, assistant dean of students. 

In 1914, a University professor in the industrial arts, Leon Winslow, was riding a bus when he saw an old lady with an unusual hat with two feathers on it, one was orange and the other was brown. He then went to the Board of Trustees to recommend the colors be the University’s school colors.

“Some people wonder why we aren’t black instead of brown, but no one has ever tried to change them since then, so they stuck,” Ginsburg said.  

Since the University adopted brown and orange as the school’s official colors, the next step was a mascot. Sports writer for the city’s newspaper, the Sentinel Tribune, Ivan Lake didn’t know what to call the team while covering them, so he called them the Falcons. 

One rare thing about the University mascot is that it has two— Freddie and Frieda Falcon.

“Not many schools have two mascots, so it is an honor to be one of the schools who does,” said Deanna Vatan Woodhouse, director of the division of Student Affairs.

However, we haven’t always had two mascots. In 1950, Freddie was born and following was Frieda in 1966.

“She was gone and then returned in 1981 permanently,” Ginsburg said. 

Frieda was originally created because Freddie did not partake in all of the athletic games, so the women of athletics created Frieda and she was officially adopted from the Athletic Department in 1981.

“I think this ultimately shows the diversity and equality our University truly has,” Woodhouse said.

Because Freddie and Frieda Falcon are very close, some students may get their relationship confused.

“They are not married or dating, they are brother and sister,” Woodhouse said. “It can be misleading because when she was first created her title was ‘Mrs. Frieda Falcon.’” 

Jon Zachrich, a graduate and Freddie Falcon this past year, said he was interested in the job when his friend suggested he should try out.

“It’s such a memorable experience,” he said. “It’s so cool to see the view from inside the costume.”

Zachrich is passionate about the University, so representing his spirit through Freddie Falcon was important to him.

“It was basically like a part time job because I put in 15 to 20 hours a week,” he said. “It was well worth it because walking around and having so many people come up to you, hugging you and getting excited about the University is an indescribable feeling.”

Zachrich said he would do it all over again if he could because of the feeling he gets when he puts on the costume.

BG Spirit

College is what you make it, so participating in University traditions is one way to not only make friends, but to show support and pride for the University, Snouffer said. 

“[Homecoming weekend] is a great weekend and a great way for everyone to embrace campus and learn about traditions— the old and the new,” she said.

For junior Austin Keller, school spirit means “friendship and togetherness.”

“All of the cheering and yelling makes me excited and a proud falcon,” Keller said.

However, Keller said he wishes others felt the same.

“A lot of my friends aren’t into going to games and what not, but that doesn’t stop me,” he said. “I can just make new friends during the games.”

Spirit doesn’t always mean showing support at games. Senior Amanda Mesko shows her spirit in her own way.

“I love this school, but why should I have to prove it through going to sporting events and participating in everything?” Mesko said. 

Regardless of how students show spirit at the University, Woodhouse believes attending Homecoming weekend is a great start to meet those who used to go here and those who you may not already know.

“We’re one big family with many traditions to share and tell to one another,” she said.