The University of Utah’s mascot Swoop, a red-tailed hawk, turns 20 this year. All are invited to celebrate Sept. 1, 12-2 p.m. at the Campus Store, 270 S. 1500 East, and during half-time at the football game against Southern Utah University that evening at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The party at the Campus Store is free and open to the public but tickets are required for the football game, which starts at 6 p.m. The parties are sponsored by America First Credit Union.
Swoop hatched during the first basketball game in 1996, and student documentary filmmakers set out to uncover his past and learn more about his present by talking with those who know him best. The short documentary can be viewed here.
A translator who is fluent in bird miming explained that Swoop would like to donate his birthday gifts to local elementary students this year. Those who would like to celebrate by donating gifts can drop off new school supplies at the Campus Store or any RedZone location and at the Bennion Center the week of Aug. 29.
RedZone stores are located on the U campus, 270 S. 1500 East; in Sandy, 10497 S. State Street; at Jordan Landing, 3763 West Center Park Drive, Suite 110; and in Layton, 445 W. 1425 North.
Swoop and members of the U spirit team will personally deliver the school supplies to a local elementary school the following week. The school will be one of the eight schools that partner with the U Bennion Community Service Center’s Utah Reads program. The program pairs university students with elementary school-aged children to provide free reading tutoring to help children from underserved populations develop the skills and confidence to succeed in school. During the last year, the program had 68 tutors who volunteered 17,620 hours and helped elementary students improve their reading an average of one grade level.
At the Campus Store party, Swoop will be accompanied by members of the U’s spirit squad and will be available to autograph birthday posters and take pictures with guests. There will be J Dawgs hotdogs for the first 1,000 visitors and a birthday cake later during the party. During the football game half-time party, Swoop will receive a surprise gift from American First Credit Union.