MGSA Unveils New Tradition: Dressing Up Deacon

MGSA Unveils New Tradition: Dressing Up Deacon

The University of Redlands is undeniably a school of tradition. Since the university was founded in 1907, its community has created traditions that continue to this day. The “R,” the Och Tamale, and the live mascot are just a few of these traditions. Now, the Maroon and Grey Student Ambassadors, or MGSA, just might have found a new one that will similarly endure long after we have graduated.

MGSA recently announced a new event called “Dress up Deacon.” The bulldog statue of Deacon, the live university mascot from 1946 to 1948, stands outside Lewis Hall on a frequently trafficked walkway between the first-year dormitories and the Irvine Commons at Hunsaker Plaza. 

The story behind the new tradition begins with the statue itself, which was brought to campus after Taryn Sall ‘17 proposed the idea of having a bulldog statue on campus at an MGSA executive committee meeting during the summer of 2016. With that, MGSA members Erik Chazin ‘17 and Kayla Wobschall ‘17 launched an online funding campaign over Homecoming weekend to fund the reconfiguration of the existing planter to accommodate the statue. 

According to Shelli Stockton, Director of Alumni and Community Relations, the idea to decorate the statue was first floated when it was unveiled in the spring of 2017. Since then, the Hunsaker Scholar seniors have dressed up Deacon a couple of times to celebrate Commencement. This year, the students in MGSA invested a great deal of energy and enthusiasm into the affair, and the tradition has taken off. 

The goal of the new tradition is to “bring students together from all aspects of campus and to bring awareness to the various organizations and clubs that students can be involved in on campus. Its main purpose is to increase student engagement with the campus,” said Maddie Bush, Vice President of MGSA. Bush added that this will be a recurring event moving forward and that MGSA will hold sign-ups for all clubs and organizations interested in decorating the statue of Deacon.

The groups that signed up to decorate this year were predominantly Greek life organizations, which included Delta Kappa Psi, Alpha Theta Phi, Beta Lambda, and Alpha Xi Omicron. Other groups included the Chemistry Club, Outdoor Programs, and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. 

Photo by Kyle Eaton

Hopefully, the new tradition is successful in encouraging more involvement with campus clubs and organizations, especially as we continue to recover from virtual classes and organizational meetings which undoubtedly dampened student involvement. 

As former ASUR President and New Member Chair for MGSA Jacob Miner ‘20 told Assistant Director of Alumni and Community Relations Tracy Telliard, this is a “great opportunity for groups to showcase their organization.” 

Photo contributed by Bulldog photographer Kyle Eaton.