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Mechanical Engineering
West Sand Lake NY

Visiting Spirit's Old Playground

Patricia Schiotis on Wednesday, 06 July 2011. Posted in Rochester & Monroe County, Student Life

While taking summer classes here at RIT, I’ve decided one of my summer goals was to spontaneously explore the Rochester Area. Last weekend, my adventures brought me to the local Seneca Park Zoo which is located about 15 minutes from the RIT campus. As I ventured around the zoo on a hot and sunny afternoon, I noticed most of the animals were relaxing in the shade, moving occasionally at the time of feeding.

As an RIT student, I immediately found interest in finding the Tiger that lives at the zoo. Our mascot is currently RITchie, a giant Tiger that roams around campus for different sporting, philanthropy and campus events. You will always find a lot of Tiger Pride around the campus, but the Tiger was not always the Mascot of RIT. Our original mascot was a “Tech-man,” which can be described as an angry little guy wearing overalls, who carried a pocket protector and a screwdriver. After our basketball team had an undefeated 1955-1956 season, it was decided that the “Tech-man” was not a fierce enough mascot. Ultimately we became known as the “RIT Tigers.” When we first became the Tigers, a live Bengal Tiger was bought for the campus, and would be brought to campus for different sporting and philanthropy events. The Tiger’s name was Spirit, which stood for “Student Pride In RIT.” When Spirit got to be too big, it was deemed unsafe to bring the live Tiger to campus, so we continued his residence at the Seneca Park Zoo.

In addition to the Tiger, the Seneca Park Zoo is home to many other animals, including Polar Bears, Bald Eagles, Orangutans, Penguins, Rhinos, and Turtles. After the Tiger, my favorite animal to watch was the Polar Bears. The first time I walked by their home, the 2 bears could not even be found. Luckily, I walked back to that end of the zoo right before leaving, to find the Polar Bears being fed. They were swimming around, munching on their apples and fish, and putting on such a great show for the observers.

For more information on the Seneca Park Zoo and Spirit the Tiger:

RITchie, the current RIT Tiger Mascot

Spirit, the baby bengel Tiger, running around a gym on campus 

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Tiger Roaming around at the Seneca Park Zoo

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Polar Bears Swimming Around for an afternoon snack

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