Mascot celebrates his big day with stress-relieving fun
With finals week approaching, it can be a stressful time for students. Some even call it “the C-Term blues.” The WPI Student Alumni Society (SAS) is hoping to bring some fun back to campus with a birthday party for Gompei the Goat, to be held 11 am to 3 pm Wednesday, Feb. 26, in Alden Memorial.
As the official mascot for WPI, Gompei is a source of pride for students and faculty. Says former SAS chair Joey Botelho, “He will always be an integral part of our WPI memories.”
One of only two goat mascots in the country, Gompei is the physical embodiment of WPI’s quirky and unique identity. He makes his presence known at athletic, admissions, and social events, and helps increase excitement at PR events, as well. Students can even find the giant, smiling goat at campus tradition events such as the Rope Pull and Pennant Rush. He brings school spirit with him wherever he goes and acts as the campus morale booster.
By late February, students could use a little morale boost. Gompei’s annual birthday celebration was instituted in 2010 as a way to break up C-Term and give students a chance to have fun before finals. It’s especially important this year as Worcester is watching the snow pile up, with few signs of spring on the horizon.
“Gompei’s birthday brightens everyone’s day, which is somewhat symbolic of what he means to the campus,” says Botelho.
Wednesday marks Gompei’s 5th birthday celebration, but the goat is actually much older. His history dates back 120 years to when the original Gompei [Kuwada] attended WPI. Kuwada, who was originally from Japan, was a member of the Class of 1893 and a brother of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In 1891 he was made the university’s first goat keeper, by virtue of his initials.
“Gompei is a goat with a lot of history attached to his name,” says SAS public relations chair Crystal Trevedi. “The Student Alumni Society really aims to get people excited about the traditions and history of our school.”
Gompei’s party will feature music, food, and plenty of games. Students can try their hand at Pin-the-Beanie-on-Gompei, or attempt something a little more difficult, such as Gladiator Jousting or the Hippity Hoppity Derby – an inflatable racing game. Barbecue-style food will be served along with birthday cake, and there will be giveaways as well as the Goat’s Head Rivalry event. In place of a gift for Gompei, students are urged to bring a new or gently used toy to be donated to Why Me, a local house that provides support to families dealing with childhood cancer.
Last year, over 500 students attended the celebration. SAS is expecting just as many attendees this year, if not more, so be sure to get to the event early. As the Facebook event page says, “It’s totes ma goats going to be a good time!”