Fear the new, improved fish

Alex Tatum
Staff Writer

For 10 years athletic events on campus have been made more spirited by our mascot, Bob Marlin. But this year, Bob Marlin may be getting a transformation, and he needs all the help he can get.
Bob Marlin has been our mascot since 1963 and his presence has a huge impact on our community.
“We feel like Bob Marlin is the face of the college, so that’s why we [the students] want Bob to represent all of the students,” said junior Emilie McIntosh. “Bob can be the rallying point for everybody, so that when people see Bob, they get pumped up and thinking about the school.”
Bob Marlin’s current costume is a more contemporary version of the original and the result of an assignment in Dr. Doug Kennedy’s Recreation and Leisure Services Management II class in 2003. In addition to the new costume design, the students also provided the mascot a name. In the 2011-2012 issue of the “Marlin Magazine,” Kennedy explained how the students came up with Bob’s name.
“We started discussing the name, and one of the students suggested ‘Bob Marlin’ in partial recognition of the reggae performer and perennial student favorite Bob Marley,” said Kennedy. “The whole class immediately agreed. I don’t see that often in classes!”
While the old Bob Marlin was able to get people pumped for the games, some found issue with his look.
“We felt it was a time for change, and we wanted the new Bob to be more modern,” said junior Jennifer Schrum, a member of the team looking to update the uniform.
Along with improving Bob’s look, the team believes the costume needs to be more functional.
“It tends to knock people over when it goes up in the stands,” said McIntosh. “It was really hard to get people who were willing to get into the costume because the climate control unit in it is broken. So, you get really hot really fast.”
In order to make a new mascot costume that solved design and functionality, the class had to go through an overwhelming process.
“Last spring, the Recreation Management II class went and did several things. They contacted five mascot companies and got design ideas from them,” said Kennedy. “They had focus groups and went around and spoke to faculty, staff and students to get their input.”
After interviewing 300 people, the class had to refine the concept and choose one of the design companies. After many revisions, the design was reviewed by the president of the college, athletic director and vice president for student affairs for more input.

“Last year, we went through about 10 different designs,” said Kennedy.

More input and revisions were made until the design was approved by the Administrative Council.
Now that the design and plan has been completed, students, faculty and alumni have the opportunity to donate money to improve the mascot.
“We have to raise $5,400 to bring Bob to campus. And how we’re trying to do that is through crowdsourcing,” explained McIntosh. “We set up a site on indiegogo, which is a crowdsourcing site. And anybody can go and make $1 donation, or you could make a $1,000 donation. It doesn’t matter.”
If donating online isn’t for you, there is still a way you can help.
“Other than our indiegogo site, we have a table [set out] in the Batten Center and we’re trying to get people who are just walking around to donate,” said Schrum.
When people make donations to this project they can receive incentives, ranging from a handwritten thank you letter to four tickets to a VWC Men’s Basketball game of their choice.
If the funds are raised, a new Bob will be swimming through the crowds and pumping up teams onto victory next year.