One Year with Thunder

by Jenna Prather, News Editor

It has been one year since Thunder was unveiled as Simpson’s new stampeding mascot, and the community has learned to embrace the elephant, whether they like it or not.

Director of Athletics, Marty Bell, was the one who brought Thunder to Simpson and after 17 years without a mascot, the elephant was met with mixed reviews.

At the time, the Simpson College Campus Activities Board (CAB) did a poll on Twitter, finding that 68.8% of students who voted did not like the new mascot. There was even a petition going around to have the mascot changed, because an elephant? Really? How does that correlate to the Storm?

But since then, Thunder has appeared at multiple sporting events, campus events, community events and parades. Even one of the new athletics logos features the face of the fierce-looking elephant. 

Thunder also has a Twitter account (@ThunderSCMascot) that has 265 followers.

Elephants have many things that they are said to represent, but for Simpson, Thunder is a representation of the campus and the energy it offers, as well as a new era the college is moving through.

“Thunder has been a great addition to Simpson College,” Bell said. “It has added school spirit and atmosphere to sporting events as well as other events on campus and around the community.”

While there are still naysayers, many people have had an open mind and posed for photos with, cheered alongside and adopted Thunder as one of Simpson’s symbols. 

Thunder even got to help represent Simpson at the Warren County fair parade and the Iowa State Fair parade this summer.

“Any time you introduce something new, it takes time for everyone to embrace it,” Bell said. “I am thrilled that our campus has grown to truly embrace Thunder over the course of the past year and the presence of our mascot has assisted with our ability to market Simpson College in many ways.”

For example, Flat Thunder was one of the marketing strategies influenced by the mascot. Members of the Simpson community were seen on social media holding a small cutout of Thunder with #SCFlatThunder tagged on their posts. Flat Thunder appeared at various Simpson events and was also included in admissions packages sent to prospective or admitted students.

Thunder is especially popular amongst children, who are excited to see and meet the mascot, but Simpson and its supporters appreciate having Thunder around to interact with at events to create excitement and, if nothing else, to have something to call silly.

“You will never have 100% consensus on something like this, but the feedback I have received has been very positive for the most part,” Bell said.

Thunder will make appearances at various sporting events, admissions events, and other campus functions for the foreseeable future. Additionally, Thunder will also appear at community events both in Indianola and around the Des Moines metro area.