Dartmouth College was founded in 1769, well before the advent of football, basketball, baseball, or most other team sports still played by colleges today. And while some other colleges from that era adopted mascots — Yale (1701) is the Bulldogs, Princeton (1746) the Tigers — Dartmouth athletes officially go by the name “Big Green.” And there’s no animal or other creature which represents that color and size combination.
And where there is no official mascot, unofficial ones are likely to sprout up. Dartmouth’s current unofficial one? An anthropomorphic beer keg, known as Keggy, as seen below.
Dartmouth has never had an official mascot, but in the 1920s, sports journalists in the Boston area started to refer to the teams as the “Indians,” for reasons unclear. In time, the college’s sports teams adopted a caricature of a Native American as the de facto representation of the sports teams (see a collection of football program covers here), and for about fifty years, the Indian was the all-but-official mascot of the school. But in 1974, the college’s board of trustees requested (or perhaps, insisted) that the informal “Indian” mascot no longer be used. According to DartmouthSports.com, the trustees believed that the “use of the (Indian) symbol in any form to be inconsistent with present institutional and academic objectives of the College in advancing Native American education.” And with that, Dartmouth was left mascot-less once again.
Over the years, students have proposed a few ideas. In 2003, the student body put a slate of possibilities up for a campus-wide vote and “Moose” got the most votes. But in a follow-up poll, “no mascot” received more votes than “moose,” keeping the status quo intact. This lent itself to comedy, and a pair of students associated with the campus humor magazine, the Jack o’Lantern, came up with a goal: to “create a mascot that wasn’t racist or sexist, yet entirely unacceptable,” per one of the two students. And from this, Keggy was born.
Keggy has made appearances at football games and other events in the years since, although not without controversy. He was denied access to a 2006 hockey game, citing fire code concerns, and was not allowed to take the field during the halftime show at that year’s Homecoming game. In 2008, the costume was stolen, but a refurbished one was developed in 2009.
To date, Dartmouth still has no official mascot — so Keggy is as official as it gets.
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Related: A kegerator.