At every game, tailgate and sporting event, you see it. The personality and face of Elon University doing cartwheels down the fields, cheering on fans and making every person around it go wild. Even now, The Phoenix is part of Elon University culture — although it may not be able to do cartwheels on a Zoom call.
Sports were canceled this year to protect players, coaches and fans from COVID-19. Elon Athletics determined it was not safe to play sports with close contact this semester. Thus, the Phoenix found itself without its normal schedule of events for the fall.
The Phoenix, whose identity remains a secret to the Elon community, serves as Elon University’s mascot. While The Phoenix wishes it could be in pictures with the community and attending sporting events alongside every Elon University student right now, it is still keeping busy, dropping in on Zoom classes and other places students might not suspect.
“I’m basically a giant hype man, so anything involving school spirit and promoting Elon in the community they will most likely send me to,” The Phoenix said.
Don Scott, director of marketing and fan engagement at Elon, works closely with The Phoenix and said it is important to keep its anonymity.
“As a mythical creature, The Phoenix is not just one person but embodies the entire Elon spirit,” Scott said.
The Phoenix’s main responsibility is to bring Elon pride to every event. While COVID-19 changed many aspects of The Phoenix’s day, one thing that will remain the same is the mascot will always be around for Elon. Its goal is still to fill Elon students with joy, Scott said.
“The mascot belongs to everyone associated with Elon,” Scott said.
Normally, The Phoenix would be attending sports games, visiting elementary schools, going to alumni events and anything else that involves spirit at Elon. However, with physical distancing guidelines preventing The Phoenix from attending in-person events, it needed to find other ways to be seen by students.
The Phoenix has been dropping in on Zoom classes and attending virtual town halls so that the Elon community can still see their symbol of spirit. It can also be seen around campus on many signs and posters where it is demonstrating how to properly wear a mask and abiding by physical distancing guidelines.
The Phoenix is very disappointed that it can’t be around campus, taking pictures with students and making everyone laugh at a football game by teasing the referees.
“I definitely would be making more appearances on campus. Like, I would’ve been at orientation, or alumni [events] ... by now,” The Phoenix said.
However, The Phoenix said it understands why it can’t be around campus and has been taking COVID-19 guidelines seriously.
The Phoenix has been doing its part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Scott said, by wearing a mask as seen in all posters and signs around campus, and has been physically distancing. The Phoenix’s suit is also washed and dry cleaned regularly, the inside and the helmet piece is constantly wiped down and washing hands is a must.
Look out for The Phoenix at Family Weeks and Homecoming.