Three years ago, Nicole Berry, a senior biology major from Brunswick, Ohio, received a curious email from an email address both immediately familiar and equally unbelievable: Klondike@onu.edu.
In the message, Klondike said he had noticed her on campus and wanted to meet. Nicole was sure it was a fake message, some elaborate prank by one of her friends. She took a screenshot of her phone and texted it to her family in a group message. Little did she know, the originator of the email really was Klondike, and by sending the text to her family, Nicole actually replied.
“It was my older sister! She was Klondike, and the email was her way of welcoming me into this wonderful secret society,” she says.
Nicole is one of four seniors who are taking off the mask and publicly revealing who they are, something that is absolutely forbidden for them to do while they are active Klondikes. For Nicole, the mystery is the best part. People are always asking her, “Who is that in there?” And even though she says it’s the biggest challenge to the job, even more so than learning how to walk up and down stairs in the suit, she’s resisted talking to anyone while in costume.
Through Klondike, Nicole has had the opportunity to see ONU in a whole new way. She was involved with numerous football games, youth volleyball and softball competitions, and the Homecoming parade, and she even got to rock out onstage with We the Kings at Welcome Fest. She loved posing for pictures with her fellow students and admits that she always smiled, even though no one could see. As she prepares for her future and graduate school at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, Nicole is glad she won’t be too far away.
“I cannot wait to come back to campus next year and steal a picture with the new Klondike so I can finally wonder, ‘Who is that in there?’”