URI establishes endowment to support Rhody The Ram
Goal is to assist student volunteers in role as University mascot
KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 21, 2002 -- Hes on the sidelines and in the stands, hes there to greet the fans and shake your kids hands. His bloods Rhody Blue and he sweats it out during the tight games, rejoices with us in the wins and consoles us when we lose.
He is "Rhody The Ram," and he represents the spirit of URI at home and on the road.
And now there is a campaign under way to establish a scholarship to support the student volunteers who serve as Rhody The Ram.
"There is no doubt that the Rhody mascot is popular," said Robert M. Beagle, vice president for University Advancement. "Just ask our fans, other alumni, little kids. Mascots are, in fact, frequently the best branding that colleges and universities have in their marketing arsenal."
Beagle said many schools give scholarships or some sort of direct assistance to their mascot volunteers, which help recruit and retain them. "In such cases the mascot is able to play a visible public relations role beyond athletic events," Beagle said.
The job requires major time commitments and in the past has not provided volunteers with compensation. Those who might be interested but who have to work to support their studies probably find it difficult to fit Rhody The Ram duties into their schedules, said Dave Nicolato, assistant director of alumni relations who oversees the Rhody The Ram program.
This year, President Robert L. Carothers has provided some financial support to help secure volunteers to serve as Rhody The Ram.
"URI fans of all ages enjoy seeing Rhody at our events, and our student volunteers over the years have been a central part of our campus spirit efforts," said Assistant Director of Athletic Development Sarah Howard, who was named to head the campaign. "President Carothers has recognized the importance of assisting our students, but we need to provide more permanent support.
"We consistently need students who can be available and who can perform at the level everyone wants and expects," Howard said.
"Our immediate goal is to establish a $10,000 endowment," Beagle said. "Raising money for this purpose fits with our annual giving and other fund raising priorities, since one of our primary objectives is to raise more money for student scholarships and for support of students."
The URI Alumni Association will manage the endowment, and a campaign is being initiated specifically for the endowment.
"Lets face it, we all have some great memories of Rhody in action, whether watching him dance at midcourt, seeing him sled down the stairs at Keaney or rallying the crowd at Meade Stadium," Howard said. "Rhodys been the constant over the years, and now its our turn to back our mascot volunteers and all they bring to URI students, alumni, faculty and staff."
To make a contribution to the endowment or for further information, please call Sarah Howard at 401-874-7536.