When Georgetown’s new mascot John B. Carroll arrives on campus today, he will have only six handlers, down from approximately 20 Jack Crew members who cared for the former mascot-in-training, Jack Jr.
“We’ve agreed to cut down the Jack Crew because it is unhealthy for the dog to have so many masters, especially when he is just getting used to his new surroundings,” Paul O’Neill (CAS ’86), chief operating officer for advancement and a member of the Bulldog Advisory Committee, said last week.
According to Jack Crew members, the reduced size reflects a desire to focus on the consistency of the new mascot’s training. The large size of J.J.’s Jack Crew may have adversely affected his training.
“It’s sad that Jack’s Crew is smal-ler — it reduces the opportunity for students to be on it,” Jack Crew member Rachel Grocock (SFS ’14) said. “At the same time, the focus is on the well-being of the mascot. Part of the reason we had some training issues with J.J. was he was dealing with so many different people all of the time. This way he knows which people he’s responsible to.”
Though the current Jack Crew members care for Jack, the 10-year-old dog does not need to be walked as often as he once did, according to Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14), a member of the Jack Crew and the BAC.
The six remaining Jack Crew members were informed about the decision on Monday. Ramadan said that after a period of adjustment to campus life, the Jack Crew may be expanded again.
Members of the Jack Crew expressed disappointment at the decision but excitement that the bulldog tradition is set to continue.
“The trimming down is hard because a lot of kids feel passionately about our bulldog tradition, and the decision to reduce the crew leaves them feeling underappreciated and out of the loop,” Jack Crew member Laura Narefsky (COL ’14) said. “However, I’m grateful that we will again have a live bulldog mascot present on campus, and I’m excited to work with the puppy.”
All six remaining members of the Jack Crew are upperclassmen, who generally have more experience in the group and more flexibility in their schedules, according to BAC member and Head of Jack Crew Nevada Schadler (COL ’15).
“Trimming down the crew was best for the puppy, and every student helper wants what’s best for our mascot,” Schadler said. “Giving the bulldog more familiarity and a closer-knit environment with a small number of walkers is the best system for him to acclimate to life on the Hilltop. Everyone understands this, and I’ve received no negativity feedback from the crew.”
Members of Jack Crew who were cut did not respond to request for comment.
The decision to reduce the size of Jack Crew stemmed from bulldog breeder Janice Hochstetler’srequest for fewer people to be responsible for the new Jack’s care. Hochstetler will spend several days on campus starting tomorrow, to see how the new bulldog acclimates to crowds and students taking pictures with him.
The mascot will be at the men’s home soccer game against DePaul University on Wednesday in order to gauge how comfortable he is in front of large crowds. Hochstetler will also walk the bulldog around Copley Lawn and O’Donovan Hall during highly trafficked times to see how he interacts with students.
He is arriving this week because if he were kept in California, where he was born, much longer, there could have been trouble transporting him to Georgetown.
“The bulldog only had a short window of time to get to D.C., because bulldogs aren’t permitted to fly in cargo, and the dog is growing too big for the cabin, so we assessed that this was the best time to bring the bulldog to campus,” O’Neill said on Friday.
Applications for mascot caretaker opened on Friday, and the Bulldog Advisory Committee, a 14-member body comprised of faculty, students, alumni and staff, is expected to make a decision this week. Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J., who cared for former mascot-in-training Jack Jr. along with Jack in New South, declined to take care of the new dog after the university denied his request for assistance from a student should he take on the responsibility.
The responsibilities of the caretaker will include providing daily care for the dog, managing the dog’s schedule of public appearances and training the downsized Jack Crew to assist the bulldog.
“There are many people in our community that are passionate about Georgetown’s bulldog tradition, so I’m sure that we’ll have a long list of good applicants for the caretaker position,” O’Neill said.