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We are thrilled to announce South Seattle College’s Otter mascot has a name! She’s friendly. She’s smart. She’s curious… and she just happens to have a full coat of sleek, water-resistant fur:
Say hello to Olivia the Otter, South’s official mascot and newest whiskered member of our campus community!
Olivia’s journey to South was a collaborative process, beginning with a short survey in 2015 asking students, faculty, and staff what three words they believed best described South Seattle College. Overwhelmingly, respondents came back describing South as diverse, friendly, and a community. An additional survey asked what image best illustrated those three words for a school mascot. The results came back with suggestions from bulldogs and birds, to historical figures and marine life.
“The idea of marine life really resonated with us because of its uniqueness, and the fact that our campus is so close to the water,” says Elizabeth Pluhta, Vice President of Administrative Services and member of the mascot development committee. “We considered many aquatic animals, but we gravitated to the sea otter. The way they hold hands when they sleep is very emblematic of our strong sense of community.”
With our mascot decided upon, The “Name the Otter” campaign began in fall 2016, and a survey was distributed to students, faculty, and staff asking suggestions for the name of our new furry friend. After receiving almost 350 replies, the top ten submitted names were; Alki, Oliver, Olivia, Ollie, Oscar, Otto, Otis, Othello, Ozzie and Potter.
After a close vote by the mascot committee, Olivia emerged the winner. Look out for Olivia in upcoming South Seattle College social media campaigns and making appearances during Student Life activities on campus.
A Few Fun Facts
South Seattle College Otters and the humble sea otter have much in common; their playfulness, intelligence and collaborative traits.
The second smallest marine mammals on earth, what sea otters lack in size they make up in intelligence and personality. Found in the shallow coastal waters off of Canada, Japan, Russia and the US states of Alaska, California and Washington, sea otters can be spotted bobbing among forests of kelp or napping while floating paw to paw. Sea otters are one of the few mammals, other than primates, known to use tools; using small rocks or other objects to pry shellfish from their shells.
Not unlike the role of community colleges, which play an important part in our economy, sea otters are considered a keystone species; playing a major role in their ecosystems. Sea otters maintain the balance of off-shore kelp, which provides essential cover and food for many other marine animals.