We at the University of Connecticut take pride in a lot of our school’s abstractions: whether it be the academic capabilities of the college, the spirit for our teams sparring against teams from across the nation or when we as a student body need to come together for a common goal, like ensuring a strong budget from the state government. However, all of this boils down to one furry encapsulation of the UConn spirit: Jonathan the Husky.
This past weekend, I took a trip to Boston for the weekend and stayed with friends at another husky-bearing college: Northeastern University. One of three major non-UConn husky schools (others being the University of Washington and Northern Illinois University), Northeastern is represented by a combination of two Huskies: Paws, a costumed mascot who performs and hypes up the crowd at games and school functions (as mascots do), and “King Husky”, a live mascot akin to Jonathan XIV, whom we know and love.
This is all well and good, but in the past, when discussing the shared mascot between our schools, I have been met with cries of “UConn are fake huskies;” referring to Northeastern claiming the dog in 1927 versus UConn in 1934. But fear not! If you ever come up against a smug Northeastern friend or foe, here are some quick rebuttals that we have the top dog. Prepare for pettiness.
1) Continuity and consistence
When looking at the Wikipedia page of both pups, it’s clear who has achieved more in their collective lives (as mascots). King is only on his seventh iteration since 1927 (currently reprised by King VII since 2005), with gaps of no live mascots at all from 1989-2005. Not good! Alternatively, Jonathan has been going strong, not missing a beat for the past 83 years. I’m lucky enough to have two Jonathans representing me right now, XIII and XIV!
2) Public presence
When leafing through the Google Images search for “King Husky Northeastern,” it seems that King only pokes his snout out at the scant sports event or school function, but beyond that doesn’t make an extra effort to represent NU’s beloved red and black. Sad! Jonathan takes his trainers on a daily walk cutting through Storrs, causing students to pull out their phones and snap pictures of their beloved school mascot.
3) Showing up to football games
Win or lose, Jonathan does his best to make it to every home football game in East Hartford, which is honorable to say the least. Like other loyal live mascots like Uga of the University of Georgia or Bully of Mississippi State University, Jonathan doesn’t miss a snap. On the other hand, Northeastern hasn’t had a football team since 2009. You could chalk that up to being in a crowded city, or being a private school having a more academic focus, but I don’t buy that.
At the end of the day, mascots are just what they are: symbols. We love them for what they are and what they represent. I can’t wholeheartedly tear apart a poor dog whose belly I’ve never had the chance to rub, or the school that he represents that housed me for the past three days. However, I can say I love Jonathan with all of my husky heart.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.