The Hamline Piper underwent a makeover this summer.
Gone are the giant head and padded costume. Going forward, the Piper will sport a more lifelike, edgier look.
“We really wanted to go back to the history of Hamline, giving the Piper more of a personal touch, ... having it be a real person that can interact and engage with people,” said costume designer Daniel Campbell ’08, MFAC ’10.
Campbell, who works in Hamline’s marketing department, said he drew inspiration from past Piper costumes as well as pop culture, superheroes, and mascots from other universities to create ten initial designs.
A committee of representatives from across the university narrowed the choices to four, which were presented to the public for feedback via Hamline’s website. From more than 1,300 survey results, a clear winner emerged.
“The biggest, most surprising thing to me is that among all of the populations, the feedback was virtually the same,” said former Director of Marketing for Undergraduate and Brand Collette Litzinger, who spearheaded the redesign process. “I wasn’t expecting there to be this massive consensus.”
‘The heartbeat of school spirit’
Lamar Shingles, director of campus recreation, sees the Hamline Piper as “the heartbeat of school spirit and pride.” His office is in charge of hiring and training students to play the Piper, scheduling appearances, and working with the Hamline costume shop to maintain the Piper’s wardrobe.
While the Piper’s new look may be well defined, its personality and actions are still being worked out, Shingles said. “We want to make sure we’re giving the mascot some freedom to grow and develop.”
A few general guidelines: A person of any gender or ethnicity can assume the role. The Piper will play an instrument. He or she will engage with crowds through actions rather than words.
A new narrative
In addition to updating the look of the mascot, the committee wanted to give the Hamline Piper its own story, Litzinger said.
The Piper was chosen as Hamline’s mascot in the 1920s based on the poem “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.”
“We wanted to reshape the traditional folklore of the Piper to have more of a positive vibe for Hamline,” Litzinger said. The Hamline Piper should be viewed as an engaging, charismatic leader, she added.