Paws '03

Name: Paws

Class Year: 2003

Hometown: Mount Holyoke State Park

Major: Athletics

 

What is your favorite Mount Holyoke tradition?

My favorite Mount Holyoke tradition was Spirit Day. Spirit Day doesn’t happen anymore, but the 3rd Annual Spirit Day, February 15th 2003, was also the day I was officially announced as Mount Holyoke’s new mascot. It was a pep-rally event held in the spring semester where the MHC community would attend the scheduled home games, participate in different activities such as contests with prizes and raffles hosted by the Athletics department. Since Spirit Day doesn’t happen anymore, I would have to say my favorite tradition now is Mountain Day. Although I am not a mountain lion, I do enjoy climbing, and I lived at Mount Holyoke State Park before I moved to campus, so it’s nice to visit every Fall.

 

On a college basketball thread on reddit, one user mentioned Mount Holyoke in a comment that states, “I'm just miffed by their mascot not being a female lion.” How do you respond to this?

I get this question from parents of prospies all the time. My gender neutral name, and the fact that I have the mane of a lion rather than a lioness is not an accident. Even though Mount Holyoke is a historically all-women’s college, it is also a place where people should feel accepted regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Everyone can use a place that accepts them. As a mascot, I represent that. Mascots are dedicated to being public symbols for team spirit and college unity, so when the Trans Policy was implemented in 2014, I was happy that my name and appearance also officially reflected the college’s values.

 

Did you ever meet the mascot before you?

The mascot before me was another lion who was unnamed, but even before then, believe it or not, the mascot would change every year. The students would select a mascot that they believed symbolized the spirit of their graduating class. According to Chloe Martin '06, often children's dolls were used, as pictured below.

(Below is basketball team captain Barbara Wellington '17 with the 1917 mascot, Kewpie.)

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What are your hobbies?

My main hobby is attending home games at the Kendall Sports & Dance Complex. I love supporting our team and pumping up the crowd. In my spare time I also like to show up to Orientation events and Prospective Student Weekend activities. It’s so rewarding to be able to welcome them to our community and get them excited about being here. I just love giving hugs to the new MoHos and taking pictures with them too. On days when I’m not too busy, I hang out with Mary.

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Do you get along with other mascots?

Yes, as a member of the Mount Holyoke community, outreach and community engagement is very important to me, so I make sure to connect with other mascots around the country. Of course I am close to Jorge the LITS mascot, but outside of Mount Holyoke my best friend is Roar-ee Lion from Columbia University. He is a newer lion like myself, from 2005, so we like to stick together. Roar-ee and I get most of our advice from Penn State’s Nittany Lion. He was born about 100 years before us, so he has a lot of experience and wisdom about mascot integrity. He was of great help to us in 2017 when we were advocating for the replacement of Lord Jeff at Amherst.

 

How did it feel when the campus store decided to make a replica stuffed toy of you?

Honestly it was a huge honor. For me it really symbolized the start of a great career. It’s crazy that it looks just like me. The campus store allowed me to be involved in the process and even let me design the toys’s t-shirt which reads “Someone at Mount Holyoke Loves Me.”

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