March 12, 2023

Lakes Region Community College has a new mascot. Winnie The Lakes Monster was introduced to a group of staff and student senate members Thursday afternoon.

Tyler Brown, the school’s enrollment specialist, made his debut clad in an aqua-colored Winnie The Lakes Monster costume after a brief overview of Winnie’s design process.

The Nessie-like character ran up and down the aisle, high-fiving staff as the lights flicked in a strobe effect.

The school’s previous, mostly forgotten, mascot was the Centurion.

“We used to have a mascot a long, long time ago, but apparently only like three people knew about that,” explained Katie Sweet, marketing and public relations manager. “We were the Centurions, which is like an ancient Roman soldier.”

“Tyler in admissions came to me and said, ‘You know, we’re the only community college in the system that doesn’t have a mascot. So can we make one?’” Sweet recalled.

Before arriving at the lakes monster concept, several less mythical creatures were considered. A beaver, a water snake, a honey badger, and even a Tyrannosaurus rex were options at some point during the creative process.

Executive assistant to the president “Liz Lawton used to dress up like a T. rex and kind of run around the campus,” Sweet said. “So we were thinking, maybe a T. rex, but that’s not really local to the region. I liked the idea of that kind of fun look, so we took that idea and thought of a lake monster, and Winnie after Lake Winnipesaukee.”

Sweet partnered with alumna Ciera Libenson as an intern to create the new mascot’s look.

Libenson “came on as a work study, and she’s an artist that is really great at sketches,” Sweet said. “So together, we worked on sketching her out and finally found a design that we liked and then we sent it to a company called Promo Bears in the Netherlands, and they made the suit.”

The suit was paid for by the student senate, funded through a portion of tuition fees.

Student senate members Jayla Austin and Tyler Jacques attended the reveal, and both were highly satisfied with the final product.

“I think they did a very good job with how they created it,” Jacques said. “I think the presentation was fantastic, they did a really great job with trying to put some effort in it.”

Austin went on to call the costume “very outstanding” and hopes Winnie’s presence can attract more students to the senate and to the college’s events. The college does not have any competitive or club sports teams, so Winnie will primarily make her appearance at campus events and in marketing materials.

“It really shows how important the student senate is,” Austin said. “I hope people in the future will be able to join.”