Chester the Viking: the Face of WCC Athletics

Chester the Viking boosts morale of athletes
and fans alike. /Courtesy of Michael Spinner

Getting college students interested in campus life can seem like an uphill battle, even more so for college sports. Thankfully, there is an app for that.

The Athletic Department of WCC has been able to represent student athletes on it’s online platform, gowccvikings.com as well as on their social media accounts. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and a youtube channel are utilized to capture and report on games and the schools athletes.

While these mediums are geared towards supporting the student athletes, the department has also taken advantage of the latest addition, Chester the Viking, who is the official mascot of the department.

Currently, three of the six social media accounts are dedicated to Chester, and while many of the posts will mirror announcements made by the athletic department the posts made in Chesters name will give off the mascots personality.

“We’ve worked very hard to make Chester a part of the campus community outside of athletics, so naturally he should have his own social media,” says Assistant Director of Athletics Michael Spinner.

The Viking mascot can often be seen walking around campus, participating and endorsing events that have nothing to do with the athletics. Because of this, Chester has been able to organically come to life, so to speak.

But WCC isn’t the first school to bring more life into their mascot as other campuses in the SUNY system and across the U.S. give their silent champions all the perks that an everyday person can obtain. Student ID, email along with the social media accounts.

One unique aspect of Chester’s life is a ongoing mini series called the Chester Chronicles. Short video clips that follows a day in the life of Chester, from getting his school ID to prepping up for the SUNY Mascot Madness, adding life and some fun to the athletic department.

“We often will have conversations about what is something different that we can do that that people will notice,” Spinner says while giving a brief history on the Chester Chronicles, which started as a fun but random interaction of Chester in costume at a desk.

With this fun, it is a goal for the department to entice more awareness of the school’s athletic teams. When Chester is out on campus, it will draw the attention of students, even those who are not particularly engaged in sports.

“If you do athletics right, and I think we do, you engage your past, your present, and your future at the same time, athletes and non athletes,” says Spinner.

The men’s basketball team just had as season where they hadn’t been outscored once, but while that is a major success, Spinner articulates that ensuring great games is only half of the job. If student athletes are playing for empty seats, there is a big element missing.

With being a campus that doesn’t have dorms, it is even more of a challenge to gain regular attention for the campus community. A optimistic view is that as the athletic department grows, in both size and success, so will crowd sizes.

With the current success that the department has with engaging the campus, aside from social media and Chester, Spinner gives notice to the Student Involvement Office, but more specifically to Associate Director of Student Involvement for Co-Curricular and Building Programs, Rachele Hall.

“Rachele, to me, is a rockstar, and we are extremely fortunate to have Rachele here,” says Spinner. “I think every campus needs a Rachele Hall.”

To find out more about Chester and the Athletic Department readers can check out gowccvikings.com.

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