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The CWI Giant Salamanders? Community college is looking for a mascot

Boise State Broncos. University of Idaho Vandals. Idaho State Bengals.

College of Western Idaho…..

So often, a school’s mascot is a rallying cry, a source of identity. BSU has Bronco Nation, which has extended beyond just the football field. Idaho State has an entire marketing campaign, “Idaho State Roar,” playing off its mascot, and if you’ve been to Pocatello, you’ve no doubt seen the paw prints painted on the streets. “Go Vandals” is a general rallying cry for anything related to U of I, and is used as a common greeting.

But College of Western Idaho, now more than a decade old, never got around to naming a mascot.

Board chairman Skip Smyser is set to change that. He has directed board members Mark Dunham and Molly Lenty to put together an ad hoc committee to come up with proposals for a mascot for the fast-growing community college.

Smyser doesn’t want to dawdle: He’s asked them to come back to the December board meeting with recommendations.

I say, good for Smyser. This is a wonderful idea, and I think it would be a great identifier for the school.

CWI doesn’t yet offer sports, so some might say, “What’s the point of having a mascot?”

If CWI does offer sports at some point, the mascot would be there already. Plus, I think a mascot, even without sports, creates a sense of identity and common purpose, a sense of pride for students and alumni.

It would be beneficial for fundraising efforts and marketing campaigns as well.

But what would the mascot be?

Animals are good. College of Idaho has the ‘Yotes (Coyotes) and Northwest Nazarene University has the Nighthawks. This area is known for birds of prey, so I could see College of Western Idaho Eagles or the CWI Falcons.

Wolverines are a fierce, elusive creature in Idaho (plus, my dad went to the University of Michigan, so I like that idea for a mascot).

The official state horse (yep, we have one) is the Appaloosa, which wouldn’t be bad.

Other state symbols are the giant salamander and mountain bluebird, which really roll off the tongue. Our state fish is the cutthroat trout, so there’s that. Our state raptor (yep, we have one of those, too) is the Peregrine falcon, so we’re back to that idea.

It’s certainly fun to think about the possibilities. I’ll be interested to hear what Dunham and Lenty come up with.

What do you think College of Western Idaho’s mascot should be?

Scott McIntosh is the opinion editor of the Idaho Statesman. You can email him at smcintosh@idahostatesman.com or call him at 208-377-6202. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMcIntosh12.
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