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Imperial Valley College Unveils New Desert Warrior Mascot Design

-Editorial

Imperial Valley College (IVC) proudly announced the adoption of its new mascot, the Desert Warrior, following an extensive and inclusive design process. The Imperial Community College District Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the finalized design concept for the Desert Warrior mascot during their regularly scheduled board meeting on Wednesday evening, June 18.

The initiative to redesign the Arabs mascot began in 2020 when the Student Affairs Committee and the Associated Student Government (ASG) proposed aligning the mascot with IVC’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. This led to the formation of the Mascot Identity Task Force (MITF), which included student representatives from the Associated Student Government, administration, and various governance committees. Their goal was to select a mascot that truly represented IVC’s community values.

IVC undertook a comprehensive communication campaign to engage the community. Press releases, social media updates, and emails were used to reach students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. An initial survey included artistic renderings, which led to some confusion. To ensure a fair and representative selection process, a second survey was administered without these renderings, gathering accurate data on mascot identity preferences.

The final survey results showed that 47.5% of respondents preferred the “Desert Warriors” mascot. Supported by a broad base of current students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members, the Board of Trustees voted in March 2021 to retire the former mascot and in June 2023 to adopt the “Desert Warriors” name, effective June 21, 2023.

The design process aimed to create a mascot reflecting IVC’s values. The ASG and MITF decided against designing a mascot with weapons, opting for a gender-ambiguous look. Local artists and alumni were invited to collaborate and submit mascot renditions. Three top choices were then selected for a community survey:

Option A featured a design by local artist Margaret Silva Chairez, Option B was created by alumnus Ian Sanchez, and Option C came from the local business Souless Industries.

The Design Concept Survey, conducted in March 2024, saw significant community participation. Option B, designed by alumnus Ian Sanchez, emerged as the preferred design with 50.93% of the vote (1,726 votes out of a total 3,389 respondents). Option A received 33% of the votes (1,134 votes), and Option C received 15% (529 votes).

Community feedback highlighted areas for improvement, including making the design less cartoonish and more rugged. Comments suggested adding battle scars or a ripped cape to give the warrior a more experienced look, aligning with the college’s resilience. Based on this feedback, the ASG and MITF used artificial intelligence to blend Option B with community suggestions, resulting in a more refined and representative mascot design.

The final design was developed in collaboration with SX Sportswear Inc. to convert the AI-generated design into a vector-ready image suitable for apparel and merchandise. This design was presented to various campus bodies, including ASG, the Athletic Department, and the Academic Senate, for approval and feedback.

Following the unanimous adoption of the Desert Warrior mascot design, the college plans to integrate the mascot into all promotional materials and communication channels. This included launching Desert Warrior apparel and distributing merchandise to foster school spirit and unity.

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