The Rutgers-Newark campus mascot, a fox named Scarlet Raider, has gotten a new look. But the transformation won't be complete until students shape Raider's style and identity.
“Over the course of this year, we'll be developing the mascot story and background. What is its personality? What is its major? What are its interests? What does it wear? How does it move? Does it dance? We want to personify it. And that will involve a lot of student engagement,'' said Kimberlee Williams, Rutgers-Newark Director of Communications and Marketing in the Office of Communications.
The Office of Communications has forged two pivotal student-focused partnerships for this phase of rebranding the mascot. The first is with award-winning students at Newark School of Fashion and Design, a Newark public high school that is partnered with Parsons School of Design.
Design schools students and instructors have taken the lead to create distinctive apparel and accessories featuring the mascot, which will be sold in an exclusive online store presented by Rutgers University-Newark. The student-designed items will create an engaging presence for the new Scarlet Raider Fox on campus and throughout the City of Newark.
“Newark School of Fashion and Design is ecstatic to have the opportunity to support the transformation and personification process of Rutgers-Newark’s new and improved Scarlet Raider,’’ said school principal Sakina Pitts. "The vision behind the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raider and what it means relative to community aligns with the vision of what community means to our school and to our city.”
She added, “It is my hope that the support from our students will rebrand the school spirit apparel as well as imagine a couture look for the mascot to wear and their designs will be embraced by the City of Newark and beyond.”
In addition to the creative collaboration with Newark School of Fashion and Design, the Office of Communications has also established a partnership with Rutgers Business School Marketing Professor Yla Eason, who is based on the Newark campus. She is renowned as the creator of Sun Man, the first African American superhero action figure and now resident of Mattel’s Masters of the Universe collection.
Undergraduate students enrolled in Eason's marketing class will play a central role in orchestrating the grand unveiling of the Scarlet Raider Fox.
“Professor Eason is a pioneering entrepreneur who broke new ground in multicultural marketing, creating characters with strong identities, first marketing them on her own and later through a major manufacturer. She is the perfect person to lead us in further imagining Rutgers-Newark’s new mascot,’’ said Williams.
Seven student teams have embarked on a journey to craft integrated marketing and communication plans, fostering anticipation for the launch of an exclusive, limited-time online store, which will showcase the items created by Newark School of Fashion Design students. The goal is to create on- and off-campus buzz for the Raider-branded apparel. Continuing the mascot’s evolution, Eason’s marketing class will collaborate closely with the Office of Communications to develop its character, backstory, and unique attributes.
“We want to ensure that the mascot embodies the spirit of Rutgers-Newark and captivates the hearts and minds of our community,’’ said Williams. “ This comprehensive approach, fueled by the creativity and dedication of our students, promises an exciting journey ahead as we introduce the Scarlet Raider to the world.”
Scarlet Raider’s debut as a fox began in 2017, when the student body voted for a fox, an animal associated with cleverness, resilience, and intelligence, as its mascot. A group of graphic design students from the School of Arts and Sciences-Newark's Arts, Culture, and Media department competed to create the winning rendition of the fox.
The original fox iteration was embraced by many and became a costumed character that brought energy and enthusiasm to athletics events and admissions open house activities.
The work performed in 2017 by Rutgers-Newark students played a central role in crafting the graphic designs that served as the basis for Scarlet Raider's present iteration in 2023, brought to life by Phoenix Designs, an agency that specializes in university mascot design. The newly revamped mascot and Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders typography stands as a bold representation of the university.
"This has been a collective effort,’’ said Williams. “Stakeholders from across campus, including our students, athletes, and staff, continue to be actively engaged in every facet of the mascot brand revamp, providing invaluable feedback on the face, eyes, coloration, stance, and countenance of the Scarlet Raider and the new Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders typography. This collaboration aims to bring to life our mascot as a symbol that resonates with the entire Rutgers-Newark community.”