by Jilleen Barrett, Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor
Brother Jasper is returning to campus for the 2020-21 academic year as Manhattan College’s official mascot. Debuted on Aug. 31, Brother Jasper is going to be cheering on athletic games, making appearances at events such as the annual open house, and even acting as the leader of the OneManhattan ambassadors.
According to Lydia Gray, the executive director for the marketing and communication department, the development of the mascot began in fall 2017. Many people from the community were on the committee to create a spirit character, however, the original idea came from the student body, according to Gray.
“We actively began meeting in early 2018 at which time we held discovery sessions and formulated and emailed a questionnaire to the college community, including alumni,” Gray said. “We then followed up with numerous focus groups composed of students, staff, faculty and alumni. After that we moved through the identity phase of the spirit character, to design and then to final concept.”
This plan was designed by SME, a design company that has worked with Manhattan in the past. It was the company Street Characters that created the costume.
“The team there interpreted the finished artwork and worked with us on overall dimensions, fabric design, colors, and finishes,” Gray said. “We did reference actual photos of Brother Jasper throughout the process and borrowed some features including the design of the robe. The green branded sneakers were an added fun feature as was the banner.”
Vice President of Student Life, Richard Satterlee believes Brother Jasper will be a strong representation of the school’s Lasallian pride.
“We are nearing the 100-year mark of being at our current campus here in the Bronx,” he said. “Our spirit character helps tell our story, and reminds us of an important figure in our institution story.”
According to Satterlee, it has not been decided who will be inside the costume for future events, but auditions and training will be held in order to ensure that this person is capable of bringing as much spirit to the job as possible.
He also hopes that this project will remind the community of who Brother Jasper is and he wants to see a better answer to the commonly asked question, “What’s a Jasper?”
“I would say that one of the trends we saw was the tendency to have these spirit characters be more youthful and fun because one of the draws is to have the mascot be approachable to young fans at games, open houses and campus events,” Satterlee said. “This helps us attract future Jaspers.”
Gray agrees and notes the important combination of excitement and honor that Brother Jasper will bring to campus.
“The character embodies the meaning of what it means to be a Jaser and promulgates the college’s values across athletic and non-athletic events,” she said. “Brother Jaspers is the best representation of strength, pride and spirit while being approachable and relatable to all stakeholders.”
Alumni are excited about the mascot as well. John Paluszek, who graduated in 1955, was a former editor-in-chief of The Quadrangle and has been a long time supporter of the basketball team. He was also incredibly involved in the process of developing the mascot.
“My role primarily was to bring a point of view of the [alumni] into the discussion,” he said. “A voice from somebody with my background was perhaps an ingredient that adds to the discussion.”
Paluszek explains that an emphasis was placed on creating an entertaining yet dignified character out of Brother Jasper, who is famous for creating the seventh-inning stretch. He also believes that Brother Jasper will bring a sense of pride to campus that will welcome remote students back in the future.
“The development of that character is and was the result of everybody on that committee wanting to do something very constructive and creative for the college,” Paluszek said.