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Three Fighting Hawk mascot designs now up for vote

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Concepts for the Fighting Hawk mascot have officially landed on the UND campus.

Three designs for the Hawk's life-size rendering were unveiled for student voting Monday morning, bringing the costumed character one step closer to life.

The student body now has the chance to vote online for their favorite of three designs. Polls opened Monday morning and close 9 p.m. Wednesday. Final ballot results should be out sometime Thursday.

A largely student-led mascot design committee has been meeting for the past few months to nail down a vision what the university's athletics logo might look like in 3-D form. That committee partnered earlier this year with collegiate design firm Rickabaugh Graphics to produce the designs now up for consideration. 

The Ohio-based graphics firm has worked with high-profile institutions in the past and provided mascot designs for Ohio State University and the University of Central Florida.

UND signed a $36,000 contract with Rickabaugh for the Hawk mascot design work, which UND Alumni Association and Foundation head Deanna Carlson Zink said earlier this month was funded by “alumni and friends of the university.”

“No state dollars are being used,” she said.

Erik Hanson, Student Government president-elect and a leader of the design committee, said the mascot concepts are on par with what that group was hoping to see. He said the biggest difference between the three Hawks is all in the personality.

“There’s not a huge variance between them in terms of body or apparel, but the goal is that we didn’t want students to get caught up on that,” he said, adding that the mascot’s clothes will change to match a given event. “We want them to look at the characteristics of the bird so when they look at it, they can see which personality is most inviting to engage with.”

The personality of the Hawk is in the eye of the beholder, but Hanson said one of the designs has a “more of a ferocious look” while another seems more light-hearted. He said the Rickabaugh artists purposely left the Hawk’s facial expression somewhat ambiguous, ranging between a smirk and a smile. But the general idea for all of them is that the Hawk should be both “intimidating to opposing teams but inviting to little kids at community events.”

Committee members hope to have two mascot costumes on campus sometime this fall.

They have yet to come up with a process to name the Hawk, but should soon be coming up with steps to add even more personality to the bird.