Archive for December 2014

Coolest College Mascots Aren’t Just at Big Universities

It’s that time of year again, when media outlets work themselves into a tizzy listing the best, weirdest or lamest college mascots.

The lists often begin and end with well-known universities (Hello Duke Blue Devils) and throw in a few curveballs to keep them honest (Pleased to meet you, Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes.)

But it’s not just big-name public universities that have fun with their sports and mascots. They’re just as beloved at independent colleges and universities as well. Let’s meet some Michigan favorites:

Dutch from Hope College
Dutch
Ruggedly handsome. And what a hat! The mucho macho mascot of Hope College was created during the 2006-07 academic year for the school. Fun fact: His face is loosely modeled after a mailroom employee, Bob Bos. Founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, Hope College became known as the Flying Dutchmen since 1959 when its basketball team took a DC3 to a tournament. The women’s teams are known as the Flying Dutch. Of course.

Tommy Titan from the University of Detroit Mercy
Tommy
Ever try running 3.1 miles in a warrior helmet and bracelets? It’s not easy. But it’s nothing for Tommy Titan, the beloved mascot from the University of Detroit Mercy who for 28 years has had a 5K run named in his honor every November. Top that off with all the excitement of representing #DetroitsCollegeTeam and having his own Facebook page, and life is pretty good for Tommy Titan.

Calvin Knight from Calvin College
Calvin
He stands for chivalry, honor and integrity. Sure. That’s true now. But he originally stood for misunderstanding. Calvin College’s mascot, the Knights, emerged in the late 1920s when a reporter from the Grand Rapids Press heard the school was populated by “Calvinites.” Ugh. Bad pun. We know. Like their counterparts at Hope, Calvin students wanted a real mascot and got one after a Facebook campaign began in the mid-2000s. Calvin Knight debuted in February 2009.

Brit the Briton from Albion College
Brit
Albion College debuted this rugged fellow in the fall of 2011. The first mascot in 176 years at Albion, he was chosen, because he represents the college’s “longstanding tradition of dignity, discovery and professionalism.” He also looks smashing. Brit looks like he and Tommy Titan would be a formidable duo at tug o’ war.

Scotty from Alma College
Scotty
He’s got a mustache that would make Yosemite Sam jealous and Scotty from Alma College is a whole lot easier to cheer for than the “Fighting Presbyterians.” It sounds like a joke, but that was Alma’s mascot until 1931. Hard to believe as it was, but students tired of shouting, “Go Fighting Presbyterians” at football games and the student newspaper launched a three-week contest for a replacement. The winner got $5. Cold hard cash. Last year, Scotty got a makeover before homecoming. He’s never looked better!

Buzz the Hornet from Kalamazoo College
Hornet
Power of the press! Kalamazoo College’s mascot got its name from – you guessed it – a newspaper reporter, this time from the Kalamazoo Gazette who said thought the football team was “buzzing around enthusiastically and stinging the opponents.” A mascot was born in 1925. Before then, athletic teams were occasionally called the Orange and Black, or even the Kazooks!

Nelson from Aquinas College
Nelson
Aquinas College is known as the Saints. Their mascot is Nelson, a Saint Bernard named after the college’s fourth president, Paul Nelson.

Charger from Hillsdale College
Chargers
Hillsdale College students got tired of lacking a true mascot about 10 years ago and chose a horse over contenders such as a lightning bolt to represent their nickname, the Chargers.

Bruiser the Bulldog from Adrian College
Bruiser
There are 36 colleges across the nation who have a Bulldog as their mascot and 16 of those schools have live mascots. But not many mascots can say they have a mascot. Bruiser the Bulldog can. Adrian College‘s adorable pup Bruiser soaks up the limelight and tummy rubs at campus events, hockey games and football games. When the big dog on campus needs a break, a giant foam Bruiser mascot costume springs into action.

That’s just a start of the differences between big public institutions and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities, where students forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Ten Life Hacks to Surviving the First Year of College

No doubt: The first year of college is exhilarating. Woo hoo! You’re on your own! You can do whatever you want! It’s also intimidating, though, because — well, you’re on your own, you can do whatever you want, but eek, you’ve never done it before.

Laundry is piling up. Your dorm is a pigsty. And there’s more homework than you’ve ever seen. Fear not. Others have come before you and figured out hacks to surviving college.

1. App up
Technology can save you oodles of time. Check out apps such as Evernote Peek that help you take notes or Wolfram Alpha that helps with math. Check out other essential apps at Laptop Magazine.

2. Get free Wi-Fi
coffeefi
Foursquare isn’t just about becoming the mayor of the Java Hut. Often, the comments for particular establishments include Wi-Fi passwords as well.

3. Speed listen to lectures
Record lectures, then use programs such as Audacity or VLC media player to listen to them at double speed. Presto, a 70 minute lecture is now 35 minutes.

4. Do laundry late at night
laundry
Laundries are usually packed during the day and in the early evening. Have the run of the place – and get your studying in, to boot – by occasionally doing laundry on weekend nights.

5. Power up
Save space by affixing power strips to nightstands with duct tape. That makes it easy to plug in phones and tablets with short cords and always have them nearby.

6. Stock up on condiments
ketch
Dorm food has improved leaps and bounds from the days of mystery meat. But to jazz up late-night snacks, stock up on free condiments offered at fast-food restaurants. Mixing and matching can work wonders. For instance, make barbecue sauce by combining 5-6 packets of ketchup, 2-3 packets of hot sauce, 1 packet of soy sauce, 1 packet of mustard and 1 packet of pepper.

7. Instant air fresheners
air
Room smelling funky? Tape dryer sheets to a fan. Your room will smell April fresh within minutes.

8. Stay focused
PathCat
Easier said than done, right? Impose self-discipline through apps such as SelfControl for Macs or Cold Turkey for PCs that block access to websites and emails for predetermined periods so you can study without being tempted by the latest cat video on YouTube.

9. Never forget your schedule
schedule
Take a photo of your class schedule and save it as the lock screen on your phone.

Bonus Tip: Go independent
Consider Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities, where students forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.