BU to celebrate Roongo’s 85th birthday

BLOOMSBURG— Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s mascot Roongo turns 85 (595 in dog years) on Saturday, Oct. 13 and a celebration of the big day will be held during the Huskies Parents and Family Weekend game versus East Stroudsburg at 2 p.m. at Redman Stadium.

Fans of Roongo are encouraged to bring pet food or other supplies to the game for the Animal Resource Center, such as kitchen size garbage bags, paper towels or kitty litter to honor the lovable mascot. (Please do not bring your dog or pet to the game.)

Also, a limited number of Roongo stickers will be given out to fans. At halftime fans will sing happy birthday to the Huskies mascot, then share in some birthday cake (while supplies last).

The University Store will be offering 20 percent discounts on merchandise, including some Roongo items, including the kids book, “Roongo Goes to the Park.”

On October 9, 1933, the student body of then Bloomsburg State Teachers College voted nearly unanimously in favor of adopting the husky as the school's first official mascot. Proposed by art professor and avid husky trainer George J. Keller as the ideal mascot because of his noble qualities, an actual husky donated by Keller made his first appearance at a pep rally on October 13. Named Roongo after a combination of maroon and gold, the first mascot proudly served in his role, sporting a blanket adorned in the school's colors.

A total of five dogs served in the role of official mascot from 1933 until 1958, three of them with the name of Roongo.  It was eventually decided that the cost of keeping an actual dog was too great, but since the school still needed an actual representation of the mascot to promote spirit at athletic events a costume was designed in 1979 for a student to personify the husky. Five costumes have been used since that time, the latest debuting in 2005. Originally known only as the husky, he now once again goes by his historic name of Roongo.          

In addition to the dogs and costumed mascot the husky has been represented many times over the years in different ways, on university publications, buttons, bumper stickers and even candy wrappers. In 1984, after years of effort, a statue was commissioned and dedicated, proudly proclaiming the husky as the symbol of the university's athletic prowess.