The evolution of Otis the Owl

Alex Palmieri – General Assignment Reporter

Otis the Owl has been Southern’s beloved mascot since the early 1950s. Having gone through its fair share of major makeovers, it is still a big part of the ongoing evolution at SCSU.

The owl mascot is represented by the many students and student-athletes for several years now, and is essentially the symbol of SCSU. The fine-feathered, blue and white owl has been around for nearly seven decades; and student-athletes to this day still appreciate the presence of the mascot that has represented Southern to this day.

One student-athlete, Robert Nittolo, a freshman sports management major, said Otis the Owl is a good look for the university. Due to Otis being around for so many years, Nittolo said the logo of SCSU can’t just change because people are accustomed to seeing the mascot.

 “I like it,” said Nittolo, the redshirt freshman quarterback for Southern’s football team. “I think it is a cool logo to be honest. I think it can be a little better looking though.”

Nittolo said that he would not change the mascot to look any different. He added that no other animal or logo is more fitting than Otis the Owl for this university. However, Nittolo did state a few changes to the mascot may be appropriate for Southern.  

“I like the representation of the owl,” said Nittolo. “I think it needs to be a little sharper though; a better looking owl costume to make Otis look better would be nice.”

Cinque Hill, freshman athletic training major and former wide receiver for Southern’s football team, said Otis the Owl represents the school well. Even though the costume may be a bit floppy at times, Hill said the blue and white colors of the animal are a perfect fit for the school.

“When you think of Southern,” said Hill, “the first thing that comes to mind is the blue owl. We are in New England; the cold, the climate and the colors all make it work. It fits well.”

Yet, even though he likes the mascot, Hill said if he could change it, he would. He said when people think of some of the Division I mascots, they look a little crueler. He said a bobcat or a cold-climate wildcat would be a more serious look to the university.

“I’m thinking that a more ferocious type of animal would be a better fit if I had to choose,” said Hill. “But Otis the Owl is good; I’m not complaining.”

New looks for Otis the Owl have been developed ever since it was created. It has gone through plenty changes; the most recent change coming in 2011, changing from a dark navy blue color in 2009 – to the now, sky blue mascot.

With the change, Devon Eddie said he thinks Otis is a nice looking mascot.

“I think he is a cool mascot to represent our school,” said Eddie, senior communication disorders major. “He doesn’t bother me; I think it is a suitable fit for our university.”

Eddie said though Otis the Owl represents Southern, he would like it to be a bit fiercer. He said there are a lot of other schools that make an owl look somewhat insignificant.

“If I had to choose a different mascot for our university,” said Eddie, “maybe it would be a tiger. It seems more mean and aggressive. But Otis the Owl is a good fit.”

Students agreed that the owl is a good representation for Southern, but would like to see Otis be more “ferocious” and “sharper” in regards to his costume. However, without Otis, Southern wouldn’t have a mascot representing them at games and events.

Southern has a long history with Otis, changing the mascot will see a major change in the school’s look and colors. Without the blue and white feathery Otis, Southern wouldn’t be called the mighty, flying Owls.

Photo Credit: Edgar Ayala – Sports Editor


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