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Nov 07 2017
by Cassidy Jackson

5 Things All Northwestern Students Should Know About Willie the Wildcat

By Cassidy Jackson - Nov 07 2017
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Search “Willie the Wildcat” on Facebook, and BAM, you’ve found Northwestern University’s mascot. Honestly, Willie the Wildcat’s Facebook page tells you everything you need to know about Willie. He’s sassy. He’s fierce. He’s wacky. He’s Willy the Wildcat.

Scrolling through Willy’s Facebook page, you’ll find Willy freaking out as a bucket of ice-cold water is thrown over his head in his ALS challenge video, because as ya know, cats don’t like water. You’ll find a video of Willie having an intense rock, paper, scissors fight with The Oregon Duck. A video of Willie flipping out (literally). So, Willie the Wildcat is a “character” to say the least…and it’s time you get educated about the face of Northwestern. Here are five interesting facts about Northwestern University’s mascot!

1. Northwestern’s mascot hasn’t always been Willie the Wildcat! The horror!

According to Northwestern University’s website, Northwestern’s original mascot was, in fact, a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo! His name was Furpaw, but Furpaw really wasn’t leading the team to success. After a losing season, Northwestern decided Furpaw was bad luck and that they needed a new mascot. In 1933, a Chicago Tribune reporter wrote a report on Northwestern’s game against the University of Chicago. The reporter referred to the players as "Wildcats [that] had come down from Evanston." And then, BAM! Willie the Wildcat was born and has been slaying the mascot game ever since!

2. Is Willie the Wildcat human?

I am convinced that under Willie the Wildcat’s costume, there’s not an actual human being. I mean, think about it! How is there a human on this Earth that has the energy to high-five hundreds of kids at each football game? How is there a human being that can survive, no, THRIVE for hours in a heavy costume in the hot months? How is there a human that can do a million backflips at each sporting event? I don’t think Willie the Wildcat is human. Ah... conspiracy theories. My fave.

3. YOU could be the next Willie the Wildcat!

Well, I guess my conspiracy theory is false, because in the final month or so of every school year, a new Willie the Wildcat is recruited for the upcoming year. So, if you have any interest in being the next Willie the Wildcat, look out for tryouts! As seen on Northwestern’s sports website, tryouts last approximately 30 minutes and involve an interview, as well as a short skit prepared by YOU! Taking into account the physically demanding nature of being a mascot, at tryouts, you must present an insurance card, a physical from the past 12 months and signed medical release forms. Northwestern needs a charismatic, energetic and passionate person to be Willie the Wildcat. Do you think that’s you?

4. Willie is out here making BANK!

If this fact isn’t an incentive to try out to be Willie the Wildcat, I honestly don’t know what is! According to an article by North by Northwestern, a Northwestern student publication, the guy or gal in the Willie costume is making a whopping $50 per hour at school-hosted events and an even more astounding $100 for each hour he’s rented off-campus, whether that be people renting him for a Christmas card photo shoot, renting him to be their Valentine or even renting Willie out to be a wedding guest.

5. Wanna be besties with Willie the Wildcat?

That brings me to my next point! You could rent Willie to be your temporary friend! Honestly, before this, I didn’t know that renting out Northwestern’s mascot was a thing, but it IS a thing! For a steep price of $100 per hour, Willie the Wildcat can be your best friend. Is it worth it? I don't know...

Now that you’re educated on all there is to know about Willie the Wildcat, share your Northwestern pride with the world. And don’t ever forget: Willie the Wildcat loves you!

Lead Image Credit: Northwestern University

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Cassidy Jackson - Northwestern University

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