Last week I learned, through the student paper, that JJ is leaving campus this fall. While I only met JJ a few times, I remember thinking that he would make a very good mascot. I love Jack but JJ just has a certain presence that makes you think he was born to be a mascot. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, the administration has decided that the best course of action is to remove JJ from campus. This decision was reached without any consultation with the university community, inspiring Fr Steck’s recent op-ed which has really resonated with the alumni community.
The mascot tradition was one that had a profound impact on my time at Georgetown. I started walking Jack during the summer after my freshman year. Jack has a strong personality and I quickly grew to love Jack. We had three great years together on campus. I accompanied Jack to basketball games and campus events; we had lots of one on one play time during our walks, but we always met his fans along the way.
Jack had a large impact on my social life; I met some of my closest friends through Jack Crew. People generally loved meeting Jack and it was great to be around positive and loving energy whenever I was out with Jack. Dozens of other students have had this same opportunity. Some participate for a semester and then move on, others, like me, stay for the remainder of their time at Georgetown. The student walkers have a close relationship with Jack, but they are not the only people whose lives are impacted by him.
The live mascot is a way that people who aren’t directly involved in the university community keep a connection. I often had the opportunity to take Jack to alumni events. Alumni would often tell me stories about their time with Jack or his predecessors. When their young children were at events, they would take photos of their kids with Jack and the kids would get excited about Georgetown. Sometimes we would get groups on campus who were not directly involved with the university, such as local schools visiting to teach the kids what college is like or conferences. In these situations Jack served as an ambassador of the university. I’ve had little kids who otherwise know nothing about Georgetown tell me that they need to work hard in school so that they can come to Georgetown to be with Jack.
I truly hope that Georgetown’s administration continues with the tradition of a live mascot on campus. The job performed by the mascot is one that a human, or even a part-time mascot, cannot perform.