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Klondike Revealed 2019

Meet the graduating seniors* who embodied the bear.

Being the Ohio Northern University mascot, Klondike, is such a closely guarded secret that not even the portrayer’s closest friends and family know the truth. A student Klondike is only allowed to reveal themselves upon graduating, so with Commencement right around the corner, we thought we’d help these students step out of the suit one final time.

Emma | Eric | Katy | Montana

Name: Emma Miller
Major: Middle Childhood Education
Years as Klondike: 3
Favorite prop: Lei
 

When Emma Miller received a mysterious email requesting her presence at Heterick Memorial Library later that night, she wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The message said to come alone, but no twin is ever truly alone, and she certainly wasn’t going to be that night.

I wanted to be Klondike because:

The secrecy aspect was interesting to me. I’m in a sorority, so I know a lot of people as a result. Being able to interact with my friends without them knowing it’s me is always a lot of fun.

The best thing about being Klondike is:

I really liked going to events that I normally wouldn’t have gone to. Even though I didn’t attend them in a normal sense – I was in a bear suit, after all – I still got to see some different sides to student life at ONU, which was really great. And, I’m probably biased because I’m an education major, but whenever little kids were around, it was awesome. They get so excited when they see Klondike, so I’d always try to give them a big bear hug.

The worst thing about being Klondike (besides the heat) is:

Having an itch. There is nothing more agonizing than having an itch and being in a fluffy suit with padded gloves and a giant mask. There is no way to scratch it.

My favorite Klondike memory is:

I have two. The first was my sorority’s philanthropic event Hoops for Hearing, which I attended as Klondike. It was all I could do to not laugh when I heard all my sisters trying to figure out who was in the suit. They didn’t have a clue it was me! I wasn’t even Klondike for my other favorite memory, which was recruiting my twin sister, Katy, to be part of the team.

 

Name: Eric Belanger
Major: Pharmacy
Years as Klondike: 3.5
Favorite prop: Scarf
 

For fifth-year pharmacy student* Eric Belanger, 2019 is his final year on campus before beginning pharmacy rotations next year and, therefore, his final year as Klondike. For a student who was the center of attention for many years as the singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band Dimers, putting on the suit gave him a different view of the spotlight.

I wanted to be Klondike because:

I’m a huge Spider-Man fan. I grew up wanting to be Spider-Man, and so anything I could do that would include having a secret identity was right in my wheelhouse.

The best thing about being Klondike is:

The free pass you get to do whatever you want on campus. It’s fun. One time I walked back into the kitchen at Mac and just waved to people. I wasn’t supposed to be there, but I was, and everyone loved it. When you show up as Klondike, you are everyone’s favorite.

The worst thing about being Klondike (besides the heat) is:

No, it is the heat. It’s absolutely the heat. I’m not a summer person. I’m better in the cold, so I could only be Klondike for events where I knew I had a solid hour of nothing to do afterward so I could take a shower and recoup my energy. It takes a lot out of you, especially on warm days.

My favorite Klondike memory is:

I was at a lacrosse match a couple weeks ago, and as I was walking into the stadium, there was a group of about eight kids who started chanting, “Klon-dike! Klon-dike.” So, I started dancing, and then they started dancing, and we ended up having this impromptu dance party for like, 20 minutes. I was carrying one of the little girls around. They were climbing all over me. It was as much fun as I’ve ever had.

 

Name: Katy Miller
Major: Nursing
Years as Klondike: 2
Favorite Prop: Bow tie
 

The secrecy of Klondike is so sacred that even twin sister Katy Miller was kept in the dark about sister Emma’s secret identity – even though she attended that mysterious library meeting all those years ago. When she got her email, she heeded the call and found Emma waiting to welcome her into another, furrier, family.

I wanted to be Klondike because:

It’s a rare honor. There aren’t many students who can say they were Klondike, so being one is special. And when I received my email and showed up for my secret meeting, I saw my sister there. When it dawned on me that she was Klondike, I knew I wanted to do it with her.

The best thing about being Klondike is:

Making people happy. People universally respond positively to Klondike, whether they are little kids or our oldest alumni during Alumni Weekend. Giving out hugs and high fives and posing for selfies never gets old. It’s also really fun to interact with people you know.

The worst thing about being Klondike is:

Lugging the costume around while trying to remain inconspicuous. It’s a challenge.

My favorite Klondike memory is:

I would have to say the time I almost fell down. It was one of my very first events as Klondike, and Emma was stalking me. (That’s what we call it when we attend events with Klondike to help with logistics and stuff.) The event was in Mac, and I had to make a big appearance. I got all psyched up and started sort of jogging in, and my foot got caught on a chair and I started going down. I could hear a collective gasp. Fortunately, I recovered and didn’t fall all the way, but I was really close to a full faceplant. For a second there, I was like, “I’m never doing this again.”

 

Name: Montana Moore
Major: Athletic Training
Years as Klondike: 1+
Favorite prop: Scarf
 

As a student worker in the Office of Alumni Relations, Montana was happy to help in any way she could, even if it meant donning the Klondike suit for photo shoots. After a semester as a “studio Klondike,” the athletic training major received an email of her own and officially joined the ranks of ONU’s mascot society.

I wanted to be Klondike because:

Klondike is the embodiment of ONU. For me, since I got to wear the suit but not “actually be” Klondike, I always kind of wondered what it would be like to be out at an event around people. When I got asked, I was thrilled to get the chance to know how it feels.

The best thing about being Klondike is:

It’s not really possible to be in a bad mood when you’re Klondike. There is too much good energy around you. And the more spirited you are, the more you pump people up. It’s cool to be at a sporting event and see the effect you can have on a huge crowd of people. And the anonymity is great, too. If I were to walk into the crowd and start flossing (dancing), people might think I was a crazy person, but when I’m Klondike, it’s perfectly fine.

The worst thing about being Klondike (besides the heat) is:

OK, if I can’t say the heat, can I say the sweat?

My favorite Klondike memory is:

As an athletic training major, I went to a lot of sporting events before I was Klondike. I would always see Klondike there and how the crowd would respond. This year, I got to do a track meet, and that was so much fun because there were so many people there – not just in the crowd, but other athletes from other schools. I was kind of surprised at how many of them wanted to interact and take photos with the rival school’s mascot. Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves that bear.