Everyone knows and loves our school mascot, Rocky the Red Hawk, but have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes? Or how it all started? Day-to-day operations and scheduling of Rocky, cleaning Rocky, hydrating Rocky and training the students who are Rocky and Rocky’s Handlers is no easy task!
Rocky has been around since 2001 as Montclair State University’s mascot, but it wasn’t until 2015 when Team Rocky was formed. One eager and ambitious student took it upon himself to recruit others who shared the same level of Red Hawk Pride and formed a group of students (both undergraduate and graduate) whose main goal was to spread the love they had for Montclair State. Originally, there were only two or three students who actually embodied Rocky and “put on the suit,” but after the formation of Team Rocky three years ago, there can be anywhere between 10-20 students who are Rocky or Rocky’s Handler.
A lot of people don’t realize that you can’t “just be” Rocky or Rocky’s Handler, you have to apply, audition and go through training before you can become a full member of the team! It’s hard work, can be sweaty and every single one of them do it for free. Members of Team Rocky do not get paid, and the budget they have to update and clean the outfits, provide water and transportation for Rocky to go off campus and spread Red Hawk Pride elsewhere (including Alumni Weddings) is very small. In fall 2018 alone, Team Rocky was present at/hosted more than 125 events, some of which are full day events such as Homecoming!
Red Hawk Pride
Team Rocky and the overall pride that Montclair State students have in this great school has grown immensely in the last three years, and it is projected to only keep getting bigger. Studies show that when a student is engaged and connected to their institution, they will get better grades and ultimately have more opportunities for better jobs after graduation. Team Rocky directly effects and positively changes this fact, one smile or high five at a time.