When the university mascot becomes a theme for memes

Last academic year, the University of Tartu organized a mascot contest that attracted a total of 97 submitted designs. The university family selected “Tiksu” by Lennart Rikk as the winner. The design of the mascot has now developed further, and at the end of August the live version of Tiksu was introduced. 

Mascot Tiksu participating in the opening event of academic year.
Tiksu. Image credit: Andres Tennus

Legend says that Tiksu is a mystical bird said to have accompanied students at the window of a lecture hall for three autumn and spring semesters, and nobody really knows its species or origin. By nature, Tiksu is a curious and charismatic bird who wishes to represent the values and interests of the university family. Tiksu is now part of the university family and can be seen in some lectures and events all over the campus. 

The first big event that Tiksu participated in was the opening of the academic year on 30 August. The mascot had just got ready a couple of days before the big debut. As with any freshman, Tiksu was excited, nervous, and even a bit scared to start its journey in the best university of Estonia. The rector and the rest of the university family welcomed the newbie warmly. However, students noticed that Tiksu was a bit worried and overwhelmed by the big life-changing event. One could predict that the university family would need time to adapt to Tiksu or even be confused about the overall idea of the mascot. What actually happened was unforeseen by Tiksu’s support crew, not to mention by the bird itself. 

The blue bird became famous overnight. Students found Tiksu to really represent the average scholar, and lectors saw many similarities between Tiksu and the freshmen. Additionally, the meme community loved the bird and saw it as inspirational material for creating student art. The rest is history. Tiksu has now been called a depressed queen, the students’ spirit animal, as well as the cutest chick of Tartu. Even our rector, Professor Toomas Asser, wanted to have a photo with Tiksu. For our Estonian-speaking readers, we recommend reading this humorous article on Tiksu’s well-being.

Image credit: jojouhanna
Meme about Tiksu. Image credit: Peedu Tuisk
Image credit: Peedu Tuisk

The need for a mascot

You might ask why the University of Tartu needs a mascot and what’s the overall idea behind Tiksu’s blue feathers? In fact, Tiksu’s mission is to motivate and support students during their academic journey and increase the cohesion of the university community. Additionally, Tiksu is here to hold up the achievement of the university’s goals and help popularize education and research.  

Many important tasks, right? Indeed, but our mascot is ready to tackle them all! Keep your eye on the University of Tartu’s social media accounts, as Tiksu certainly has many surprises to share. 

*Use of the Tiksu mascot is organized by a team of volunteers led by the university’s marketing unit. All students and staff of the University of Tartu are welcome to apply to become a volunteer. If you would like to try what it is like to wear a mascot suit or to lead a team of volunteers, write to the marketing unit of the university at turundus@ut.ee

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