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Office of Sustainability unveils new mascot: Big Stu

| Friday, January 24, 2020

On Tuesday, the Office of Sustainability revealed Big Stu to the world — the cartoon squirrel that will serve as the office’s new mascot.

Big Stu was designed by Office of Sustainability graphic design intern and senior Alyssa Carroll, and will be used in the office’s promotional and educational materials. So far, Stu has appeared on Facebook and Twitter, and has his own new Instagram account.

Courtesy of Alyssa Carroll

Big Stu, pictured, is the Office of Sustainability’s new mascot designed by senior Alyssa Carroll.

Carroll, a marketing and visual communications design double-major, has been working with the office since the beginning of her junior year. She said that she has focused on strengthening the Office of Sustainability’s brand and was inspired to begin designing a mascot based on old Office of Sustainability promotional materials.

“We found this really old poster from 10 or 15 years ago that some employee of the office had made, and [a squirrel] was on it, and all the interns and I were in love with him,” Carroll said. “We put the poster up in our office. Having these conversations about rebranding, it crossed my mind that maybe that would be a good way for people to relate to sustainability.”

On Monday, the Office of Sustainability’s social media accounts made posts teasing a new mascot — before revealing the character the following day, on National Squirrel Appreciation Day.

“We are hoping that by having a not-super-serious mascot, it’ll make sustainability more fun and accessible,” Carroll said. “It’s targeted at students — just kind of a silly way to get the word out about how to live more sustainably, especially in the context of Notre Dame, and how to use the resources on campus. Hopefully people will respond to it more so than they would to a more formal-sounding communication.”

Carroll said that she and the other interns at the office brainstormed names before eventually settling on “Big Stu.”

“We had a lot of conversations about what the name should be,” she said. “We wanted it to be catchy and go along with the theme of sustainability, but also just be fun. We decided on ‘Stu’ because it kind of works with ‘Stu-stainability.’ That’s not the only reason, but we all thought that it fit his persona.”

Donnetta McClellan, Office of Sustainability project and communications coordinator, said that, in addition to social media, the office plans to use Big Stu for their “sustainability tips” and is working to have Big Stu displayed on a board in the Duncan Student Center.

“We really do have a lot of fun in our office, and she wanted to use this as a way to show that it really is fun — you can be sustainable, you can do the right thing and you can still have fun doing it,” she said.

While fun, McClellan also said that Stu serves an important purpose in communicating the importance of being sustainable.

“We would like to use it as another communication tool,” she said. “The goal of the Office of Sustainability is not just reducing trash and recycling, but to communicate the sustainability as a whole that the campus is doing, and how to be more sustainable with our own lives at home as well as here. The mission of the Catholic University is also taking care of our common home — part of ‘Laudato Si’ from Pope Francis.”

Carroll said she hopes that Stu will increase the Office of Sustainability’s visibility and encourage students to learn more about the office and get involved.

“The Office of Sustainability does so many really cool things on campus, and as somebody who works there I feel like a lot of people, even my friends, don’t know what we’re doing on campus,” Carroll said. “I think it would be great if there was more awareness about what’s going on and more people participating in what we’re doing.”

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About Andrew Cameron

Andrew is a senior from Orange County, California. He is an associate news editor at the Observer, and is majoring in Biological Sciences and English. While he has greatly enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, during the winter months he often wonders why he ever left the perennial warmth of Southern California.

Contact Andrew