Nick Bonaventura

Swoop, seen here in its old uniform, will have an all new look during Miami athletic events this year. Its new costume will be shown before Saturday’s football game. –Jeff Creech/The Miami Student

A change is brewing for Miami University’s mascot Swoop.

After seven years of wearing the same costume, Swoop, is getting a new look this year.

The idea to change Swoop’s costume stemmed primarily from Miami University’s director of marketing for the Athletic Department, Anthony Azama.

“I just felt the old mascot uniform was not vindictive of the program or the university,” Azama said. “We wanted something that really looked good that the students could be excited about.”

To come up with the new design, input was taken from various sources, ranging from a group of design students at Miami to outside companies that specialize in mascot designs.

“It just made sense to put together a focus group and have them look at some sketches,” Azama said. “We had a couple of companies that have done some other schools and they made a pretty impressive presentation when we sent them our requests for proposal.”

Also included in the focus groups were current Miami faculty, Miami alumni, Valerie Hodge, long-time season ticket holders and a group of design students.

Miami professor of theater, Lin Conaway, led the design students.

“The idea was proposed to me to design the mascot, so I took it to the class and we got really excited about it,” Conaway said.

The class, which ran second semester last year, consisted of eight students. The project was gradually folded into the syllabus, and each student wound up creating his or her own design for Swoop, Conaway added.

“The class really had a stake in this,” Conaway said. “They took this very seriously and it showed in their final sketches.”

The final product will be revealed Saturday morning during the pre-game festivities before the first home football game against Cincinnati.

The new mascot is just a small part of the changes being made to get students more excited for RedHawk sporting events.

“This is just a part of a new initiative we have to try and make games more interesting,” Azama said. “Football game days will never be the same around here.”

Thursday night around 250 Miami students attended the pep rally, which was held on the Millett lawn.

Azama hopes that students realize how important they are to the success of Miami athletics.

“I really believe students make the difference,” Azama said. “We got to try to let the students know that they are the key to our success.”