Traditions poll reveals students want live bull

If the student body gets its way, Rocky D. Bull could be accompanied by an actual bull at football games.

In hatching the idea for a Traditions Competition to inject new customs into USF student life, student body President Brian Goff took a democratic approach by asking students what they would want to see established as a tradition through an online poll with five preselected options suggested by students.

Goff said more than 1,067 students voted online with each allowed to select their top three choices. Student body Vice President George Papadeas said he and Goff are deciding the feasibility of the ideas and how to implement them. The top three ideas chosen were:

Goff said they are still considering the likelihood of whether Student Government can implement any of these traditions. He said he was unsure how much each would cost or how much could be spent using student-paid Activity and Service fees.

The live bull would not incur any money from USF, Goff said. It would be housed off campus and be primarily taken care of by alumni. It would be the least cost-incurring to the university, the issue it (poses is) liability. I would not be comfortable stating figures since there are no figures as of yet.

USF rejected the idea in 2007 after lengthy discussions with Beef O Bradys owner John Massaro, who partnered with a local rancher to raise four Brahman bulls for USF.

Chris Freet, former assistant athletics director, told the Tampa Bay Times that largely due to the liability issues related to having a live bull at Raymond James Stadium, USF athletics does not have any current or future plans for a live mascot at sporting events.

Other ideas considered included recognizing Humans vs. Zombies, a live-action game usually played each semester, as a USF tradition, and playing the USF Alma Mater and the Fight Song in the Marshall Student Center over speakers so students could learn the words and sing along.

Other potential initiatives include making the Sun Dome more student-oriented, and working with Busch Gardens to get discount tickets for USF students, Papadeas said.

Weve discussed some sort of a bull sculpture that would welcome students into the Sun Dome, he said. This is important because it will build pride for the new Sun Dome and students will feel more connected to their new entrance.

Establishing a relationship with the surrounding area was an objective Goff and Papadeas campaigned on when they were running for office, Papadeas said.

Building a relationship with Busch Gardens is something thats important, he said. We campaigned heavily on establishing a better relationship with the Tampa Bay area as a whole and it really made sense to start with Busch Gardens seeing how theyre basically right in our back yard. USF is gaining a partner in the community.

Goff said that having discounted tickets would benefit the students and the local economy.

It provides an alternative to students partying or driving the forty minutes to the beach, Goff said. They can have fun five minutes away in Tampa at Busch Gardens. Busch Gardens employs a lot of students and so the more business they can get, the more students they can hire.

Goff said they have also been working on a survey to gauge students feelings about proposed tuition increases.

Really, (the survey) is just for me to use when I go into (the meeting with) the Board of Trustees in June on tuition, Goff said. That way if I take a stance against tuition increase, I have backup and ground to stand on. They are between a rock and a hard place, where they need to make sure the quality of our degree stays the same. (They may be) more willing to come to a compromise if we come in with the survey valued and dated to show that X amount of students are against it.

Goff said the tuition survey should be posted online by the end of this week.