News Release

Student designs 'new look' for Roomie the Lion

Contact: Christina Chapple


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Erin Moore, Kathy Pittman, Rebecca Faucheaux, President Randy Moffett, Gary Keown, Chris Bentley

Caption …

WINNING “NEW LOOK” FOR ROOMIE – Southeastern Louisiana University President Randy Moffett presents Rebecca Faucheaux with her prize check for having the winning design in a contest among graphic design students to create new look for Roomie, the university’s lion mascot. Also shown are members of the student-faculty-staff costume redesign committee. From left, are Erin Moore, executive assistant to the president; Alumni Director Kathy Pittman; Faucheaux; Moffett; Visual Arts professor Gary Keown, and Chris Bentley, assistant athletic director/academic success.

HAMMOND – Call it “Project Roomie.” Just like on Bravo’s popular reality show “Project Runway,” Southeastern Louisiana University graphic design students recently competed to create a “new look” for the costume worn by Roomie, the university’s lion mascot.

     But unlike the hit television series’ contestants, students in Visual Arts professor Gary Keowns’ print design class did not have to actually sew up a lion suit and parade it down a fashion runway. They submitted designs for prospective costumes; a professional mascot costuming company will turn the winning entry into furry reality.

     The winning design that will inspire the new costume was created by Rebecca Faucheaux, an art major from Lacombe, whose conception of a kindly, but imposing lion was selected by students through an online vote. Designs were initially submitted by 25 students, then narrowed down to two choices by a costume re-design committee of students, faculty and staff.

     Faucheaux said her look for Roomie’s costume was inspired by Internet research on lion photos – and by Scout, her 10-year-old Minx cat.

     “I used my cat for the shape of the eyes,” she explained, laughing.

     The design committee visited with Keown’s students several times during the fall 2007 semester to discuss their ideas and requirements for the costume, bringing along the current Roomie, who hasn’t had a new suit in a decade.

     The committee asked for a Roomie that was both “strong and stately” and “fun and child-friendly.” The students also had to keep in mind the need to accommodate the costume wearer’s comfort and mobility.

     Faucheaux gave her Roomie a slight smile, showing just a hint of teeth “so he wouldn’t look too happy-go-lucky,” she said. She also gave his suit a solid, but not overly muscular look.

     While Faucheaux said she thought the contest was a fun project, Keown admitted that some of his students were a little taken aback by the assignment. However, he pitched to them its relevance to their graphic design curricula, where students learn to create pieces that are often elements in a multi-faceted marketing campaign.

     “I made reference to ‘Mr. Peanut,’ who was created by a teenager in a competition back in 1910,” Keown said. “The young man’s design was transformed by artists into the advertising icon that we all know today.”

     “He got a $5 prize, by the way,” Keown added.

     Faucheaux received a considerably larger reward -- $300 provided by the Southeastern Alumni Association. The Alumni Association co-sponsored “Project Roomie” with the Student Government Association, which will fund the new costume. Faucheaux said she will use her prize money to purchase new graphic design software.

     The lion mascot costume is not the first time Keown’s students have been challenged to create designs. In 2005, graphic design students also participated in contest to design a new logo for Fanfare in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the university’s October arts festival. Classes have also developed presidential holiday cards, a poster for a local fireworks company, and logos for an academic college, KSLU, and the Recreational Sports and Wellness Department.

     “We’re looking forward to seeing the final product,” said President Randy Moffett as he presented Faucheaux with her prize. He invited her to join the “new” Roomie on the Strawberry Stadium field when the new costume is unveiled at the first 2008 home football game.

     “Did we tell you he’s coming in by parachute?” he joked.

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