Welcome to the official website for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's mascot candidate: The Belted Kingfisher!
Naturally True to the Orange and Blue, the Kingfisher can unify school spirit, guide the creation of new traditions, and become a mascot embraced by all members of the Illinois family.
Photo by Steve Courson
Why the Kingfisher?
The University of Illinois deserves a mascot as fierce and vibrant as our students, alumni, and community members. As a year-round resident of Champaign parks, ponds, and rivers, the Belted Kingfisher would serve as a unique mascot future generations of Illini can proudly call their own.
Students Clamor for New Mascot
2011: A campus survey revealed that 85% of 11,440 student respondents were in favor of some form of mascot change
2018: Mascot proposals like the Alma Otter gained traction but ultimately failed to carry a student referendum vote
Unique Proposal Takes Flight!
2019: Spencer Hulsey introduces the Belted Kingfisher as a mascot proposal, and imaginations everywhere are captured! The Illinois Student Government unanimously voted to add a mascot referendum the spring election ballot.
Student-Wide Vote Passes
2020: A majority of student voters said YES to the question: "Should the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign adopt the Belted Kingfisher, an orange-and-blue bird native to Illinois, as the mascot for the University?"
Passed with Flying Colors
With resounding support from faculty and student senators, the Campus Senate endorses the Kingfisher and encourages action from University administration.
The Illinois Student Government unanimously endorses the Kingfisher as the next mascot of the University of Illinois and firmly requests action from the University.
The Kingfisher gains traction among public interest groups, students, and alumni as its social media interactions increase and endorsement letters begin trickling in.
People like you are absolutely crucial in helping to spread the word on the bird!
Alumni Organization Created
The Kingfisher promised to unite students, community members, and alumni. With student support now confirmed, the Illinois Alumni for the Kingfisher took flight to prove that the Kingfisher has cross-generational appeal.
Why we need a mascot
Mascots are more than just a courtside character.
Mascots serve as a unifying symbol of school spirit and create enduring bonds between students and members of our community. Our University's 16-year gap without a mascot has impeded developing these shared traditions. The Kingfisher's goal is to enhance existing traditions and develop new ones in a way that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone!
The Kingfisher does not intend to replace the Block I or "Fighting Illini" tradition, but rather:
create new and lasting memories for our students
provide a lasting representative for our school with controlled and consistent branding
serve as a university liaison during community and student events
Photo Credit: Above Ground Media, Ryan Rice