Thunder the Elephant: more than a mascot


Submitted to The Simpsonian

Thunder is Simpson College’s newest mascot.

by Bailey Earls, Layout Editor

A mascot is a person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization, according to the Oxford Dictionary; however, a mascot is also a person that has taken on the responsibility and title to be the face of an organization.

While Thunder has required for their identity to remain anonymous, the wearer is a student. 

“I saw that we were getting a mascot, and I found out it was a coach inside of there,” Thunder said. “I [felt] like it would be really cool for a student to do it.”

The person behind the mask had experience as a mascot in high school and thought it would be a good way to interact with campus. Thunder has already had many appearances on campus with college sports and Homecoming.

“[Homecoming] was probably my favorite part so far, because I got to interact with more kids,” Thunder said. “It was really fun to get to take pictures with everybody. The children love Thunder.”

It is also a great opportunity for alumni, donors, staff and students to meet and interact with Thunder.

There has been some controversy over the new mascot among the student body. The Twitter account Barstool Simpson–not affiliated with Simpson College–created a petition last week to have the mascot changed. As of Nov. 2, there have been six signatures.

In response to the petition, Thunder said, “It hurts… but thunder is also for the students, so they should have a say. But give it one more thought. We’ve got worse problems than the mascot being wrong.”

Simpson was one of the few Division III colleges in Iowa without a mascot. Central College’s mascot is Big Red; Loras’ mascot is Dewey the Duhawk; and Coe College’s mascot is Charlie Kohawk. Until recently, Simpson College was the Storm with no mascot.

“I’ve sat at the Iowa games, and everybody goes crazy when they see Herky,” Thunder said. “We just want something that everybody can interact with all the time at the games or events.”

Along with the petition, there has been some student backlash as well towards the new mascot.

“It upsets me just because I understand what the college is trying to do – have a symbol for Simpson,” Thunder said.

Having a mascot on campus gives the student body something to interact with during the games and tailgate season. It can also be used as a tool to get the student section excited during events. 

“It’s kind of hard for the cheerleaders and dancers to do both,” Thunder said, “I feel like it’s awesome to have the mascot there to do that.”

Thunder encourages the student body to have an open mind and give Thunder the Elephant another shot.