More than 100 students say the Saluki logo needs a new design, and are making their voices heard through an online petition.
Alex Bennett, a junior from Bloomington studying cinema and photography, is the designer of the newly suggested logos and the creator of the petition on change. org. Bennett said a mascot is important for representing and identifying a university’s students and the current logo does not accomplish this.
“I want students to take pride in their school and work to have their voices heard,” Bennett said.
The petition was started Wednesday. As of Monday, the petition had 149 signatures. It needs 51 more to meet its self-set goal.
Bennett said he has wanted to see a change in the logo for some time now. He was inspired to take the initiative while watching the Super Bowl. He said he wanted SIU’s logo on par with NFL logos and others within the Missouri Valley Conference.
“They just have that feel to them that our logo currently doesn’t,” he said.
He said he challenged himself to create a new logo and put it on Facebook just for fun, only to get feedback suggesting he start a petition.
He said the current logo is mundane, bland and looks thrown together. The Saluki logo lacks the impact other popular athletic logos have, he said, and some of the details are not uniform in the design.
Bennett said in the past many people have compared the Saluki logo to a sock puppet.
“Compared to other logos, if it looks like a sock puppet, it isn’t going to be very intimidating,” he said. “I feel like it isn’t going to be something you can really get behind.”
Bennett’s first logo design was described as more fierce and aggressive, he said. However, his intent was not to make a logo strictly with those characteristics.
He said he wanted to make more than one logo so students could pick which one they liked best, since not everyone liked the first one he created.
“The reason I made one look fierce and aggressive was just to show the other end of the spectrum,” he said.
“I kind of wanted to make these other logos to balance it out and find a balance that everyone liked.”
William Keith, a senior from Carol Stream studying cinema and photography, signed the petition, despite not having an issue with the logo before. He thought it could look better.
“It’s a better potential for the school because you want to make the best name for yourself,” he wsaid. “For us Salukis, you don’t want to go out being a sock puppet. You want to go out being a fierce warrior.”
The Salukis’ logo should be fast, aggressive and determined, Keith said.
He said if people keep committed to it and use their voice, he believes the new logo will change. He said it will probably happen with the current momentum and hoped the Carbondale community would support the change.
However, not every student shared Keith and Bennett’s sentiments.
Katie O’Riley, a junior from Forsyth studying advertising, said she does not think the logo should change.
“That’s the way it has been,” O’Riley said. “It’s traditional, iconic and already established everywhere on campus.”
As far as whether the logo will change, Bennett said he was optimistic about the prospects.
“Even if it didn’t happen, I just want the school to show the students they value their voices,” Bennett said. “I want the school to have pride in their students to take some things seriously that the students might want.”
Steve Sowers, the assistant athletic director of marketing, said he is meeting with Bennett to discuss his idea.
“We are not closing our eyes for the future,” Sowers said. “We’re not against it, but nothing is set in stone yet.”
Sowers said the logo has been around for a long time, so a new design might be desired by some. At this point, he said they are going to look into it.
If the logo does change, Bennett said it would show SIU values the input of its students.
“If it does get selected, that would be the ultimate triumph,” Bennett said. “That would show that the school seriously cares about what its students think.”
For more information on the petition, visit change.org/petitions/southern-illinois-university-carbondale-change-our-saluki-mascot-logo
Elizabeth Zinchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone as 536-3311 ext. 256.