Although it's a somewhat biased opinion, Virginia Tech has the best mascot in the country. The Hokie Bird is a leader, an ambassador and an innovator for the university.
His duties go far beyond that of the average mascot; he is a symbol of everything our school stands for.
Using Facebook and Twitter to reach out to the Tech community outside of Blacksburg, Va., The Hokie Bird has a growing fan base of more than 3,000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers, as well as more than 34,000 likes on his Facebook fan page. The Hokie Bird has used this attention to promote activities in new ways.
One example occured last month, when just a day after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Hokie Bird organized a massive poster-signing event for the victims via Facebook. Thousands of Tech students attended the poster signing, showing how much influence he has.
The Hokie Bird wore a shirt at the poster-signing event that read “Help Newtown Prevail,” relating back to our own history after the April 16, 2007 massacre, which resulted in the now-famous “We are Virginia Tech. We will prevail.”
This event hit home, especially for me, because my sister was a student at Tech on that fateful day back in 2007, and I remember the outpouring of support from around the world for the victims affected by that tragedy.
The Hokie Bird does more than organize these types of events, though — he stars as an ambassador for the school.
The Hokie Bird personally routinely interacts with his fans via Twitter, and even congratulated new students for being accepted into Virginia Tech Class of 2017 when decision announcements were made.
He wishes loyal followers and friends happy birthday and takes time to comment on almost every picture that is tagged of him on Facebook. He promotes sporting events and joins in on activities around campus, and students can spot him roaming the campus throughout the week.
But after all the publicity the Hokie Bird receives, the one item that remains a secret is his real identity. I am sure many of the Hokie Bird’s close friends know his real identity, but no one else will know until the Hokie Bird graduates.
It has become a tradition for all who put on the Hokie Bird costume to wear the Hokie Bird feet at their graduation, so their classmates finally know who the Hokie Bird was. The process to becoming a Hokie Bird is a secret too; I have yet to meet a person who knows how the application process works, but I am sure there is a way to find out that I have not discovered yet.
Let us not forget what has made the Hokie Bird the icon that he is today. His flamboyant personality and hilarious feats will forever be etched in every student that walks the halls of these Hokie Stone buildings. The Hokie Bird is a beacon of positivity and optimism. Just look at him; he is always smiling.