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Scrotie Responds to Hands-on Attention
Most RISD students have had the pleasure of watching the
eyes of our friends and families widen in disbelief when they first learn about
Scrotie. While students at other colleges cheer on their lions or
tigers or bears, RISD is the only school in the country with a
friendly phallus as its unofficial mascot.
Even without any legs to stand on, Scrotie rises an
impressive six feet tall and serves as a sometimes too-real reminder of our
grueling Foundation Studies life drawing courses. But what most students may
not realize is that the Scrotie we now know and love is actually a reincarnation.
The original Scrotie was born in 2001 when students created the first anatomical costume, which had a small red cape. He frequented
Nads hockey games to dance around and encourage fans to yell “Go Nads!” Then, after eight years of bringing rowdy students to their feet, the original Scrotie succumbed to understandable wear and tear.
A year of mascot celibacy followed, but as hockey fans grew
increasingly restless and dissatisfied, RISD’s Center for Student Involvement
stepped in just in time. The CSI invited senior Sean Devare 12 IL to reconceive our heroic hot dog.
Working with a talented team that included Liz Mooney 12 IL, Jesse Bonelli 12 IL, Nick
Truss 12 IL and Darian Brenner 12
FAV, Devare dreamed up a radical redesign of the cocky mascot. Functionality
was of paramount importance, so the team added adjustable straps for support
and comfort, along with strategically placed openings that enable the wearer to
sit down. It pumped up Scrotie’s super-hero feel by adding a larger cape, a
mask and a sperm emblem emblazoned on his chest.
The mascot’s new “skin” – a bright red on top blending with
royal blue testicles below – is the most noticeable and controversial change. But
Devare explains that “we wanted Scrotie to be race-blind” and points out that
the wearer conceals his own skin color by donning a mask, gloves, long sleeves
Of course, the biggest challenge for the Scrotie redesign
team was actually creating the huge sculpture. After commissioning the basic structure from Big Nazo, the local puppet
studio run by alum and RISD faculty member Erminio Pinque 83 IL, students took over the responsibility of bringing Scrotie to life. They worked in basements and alleyways to get the necessary space and
ventilation, and once even worked on the roof of a building next to the
Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence. “The people staying at the Biltmore that
day had quite a sight,” recalls Devare, remembering the hotel guests looking
out their windows at students hard at work making a giant foam penis.
But wherever the reconstructive surgery took place, the team
worked with their “balls to the wall” making hair follicles out of fishing
line, sculpting veins in foam and even trying to incorporate a squirt gun into
the tip. In the end, though the squirt gun never quite worked out as
planned, the new Scrotie is an impressive representation of RISD’s collective talent
as well as of our family jewels.
Scrotie made his first post-surgical public appearance at
the 2010 RISD Block Party. “There was definitely rejoicing going on,” recalls
Devare, who was the first to wear the updated version. “I
just put on the suit and hammed it up,” he says. And his peers loved it. That
day they swamped Facebook with pictures of themselves posing next to and even
hugging the loveable penis. Since then
Scrotie continues to visit Nads games and pop up around campus, embodying
enthusiastic yet typically strange RISD school spirit.
And as true fans like to say, “The people
cried out for a hero, and a hero came.”
—Samantha Dempsey 13
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