Nutzy the Flying Squirrel and Rodney the Ram are about to get more competition.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is looking for a mascot of its own and is considering creating athletic programs.
The 40-year-old school recently published a request for proposals for the selection, design and production of a mascot and mascot costume to “embody the JSRCC brand and bring that brand to life.”
“The College seeks to embrace the personality of a mascot and use it as a tool for community engagement, increased awareness and to build college pride among students, alumni, donors, and employees,” the school said in its request for proposals.
In addition to the quest for a mascot, the college is exploring entry into the National Junior College Athletics Association and considering the creation of sports teams.
Kelly Smith, JRSCC’s marketing director, did not respond to a request for comment on the mascot project.
The school is looking to select a mascot through “community and college-wide involvement,” according to the notice. Sealed proposals are due Jan. 31, according to the notice.
The college has four campuses in the Richmond area, including a downtown campus on Jackson Street, a large complex off Parham Road, a smaller facility on Brook Road in Ginter Park, and a campus in Goochland. About 19,500 credit-seeking students are enrolled in the school.
Making a mascot takes more than a funny name and a googly-eyed costume.
“It’s all about community engagement,” said John Linder, owner of downtown marketing agency 93 Octane. “Students, faculty, donors, alumni. It can help create a sense of civic pride.”
Costs vary for a project of this magnitude, but Linder said the price would likely be upward of $10,000. He said it’s possible that the college could recoup the money spent on design and production in licensing fees.
“A mascot can be a really powerful tool for a brand,” Linder said. “It can make something tangible that’s often intangible to the community.”
The spotlight found several area mascots in October when local frozen yogurt brand Sweet Frog released a “Gangnam Style” tribute video starring mascots Scoop and Cookie and featuring cameos from Nutzy (the Flying Squirrels), WebstUR (the University of Richmond), Rodney the Ram (VCU) and Kickeroo (the Richmond Kickers).