Courtney is joined by the one and only Colson Glover, also known as the WVU Mountaineer! They chat about the process of becoming the Mountaineer, what it means to serve in the role, and Colson provides some great advice for his fellow students. To stay up-to-date on all the Mountaineer is up to, follow them on Twitter @WVUMascot.

Transcription: 

Hey everyone. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesdays. My name is Courtney Weaver. I'm your host. I'm also the director of WellWVU here at West Virginia University. And today we have someone famous with us as our guests, and that would be cool. So Glover also known as the mountaineers. So welcome Colson.

How you doing? I'm doing great. Thank you, dr. Weaver for having me. Oh, well, thank you so much. Um, so why don't you tell us a little bit about what, um, your role here at the university is I'd love to, so like you said, I am the 67th Mountaineer mascot here at West Virginia University. So my role is really to be an ambassador and be the face of West Virginia University.

So I get to go to. All the sporting events and be there obviously. But I also get to go to recruiting events and fairs and festivals all across the state of West Virginia to really show other West Virginians and people all across America. What that'd be view in the state of West Virginia is truly all about.

Awesome. And you all can't see this, but just know that Colson is in full like Mountaineer gear. He's not wearing a hat, but he's got his, uh, what'd you call them the buckskin. I had the buckskins on. I don't have the coonskin cap on, but I'm in the buckskin. So, and you also have to maintain a pretty impressive beard as well.

Right? As part of the Mountaineer. So that's actually not a requirement of being the Mountaineer, but it is kind of an unspoken requirement. That's just kind of been that way since the eighties, that if you are male and you can grow a beard that you're supposed to have a bearded face. So I'm not sure what it would be if they, I decided to shave, I'm not sure what kind of flack I would perceive, but you are supposed to have it an unspoken rule of beard.

If you are a male. Oh, wow. I guess you can always get a clip on, but I guess that's true. I think it would make it easier for you to go like incognito, like on campus though. Cause ask everywhere because of the pandemics anywhere I got us. So that does cover up the beard. So I am a little bit more incognito than like former mountaineers, but so yeah, you have a special Mountaineer face mask.

I don't. So I wouldn't the first few games for EKU, the football game. Everybody was asking me, do you have a buckskin? Do you have a cane skin mask or anything like that? And at the end of the day, we said, this is going to be a game at 12 o'clock noon where the 84-degree temperature, I would probably pass out if I had to wear a leather or a for faint face mask over my mouth.

So I just wore the traditional Bellevue Brandon face mask to kind of help me out when I was doing those pushups. Well, I think that's a good call. Alright. So, um, why don't we talk a little bit about what it means like for you? Like what does it mean to be the Mountaineer. Sure. So I am a third generation it's indie of West Virginia university.

So my grandparents with WVU the rest of my life WVU. So I've always had golden blue in my vein. So I always looked up to the mountain near mascot growing up just because it was the school. And I always looked at him or her as the face of the university that I love the face that was very near and dear to my family.

So it was always a position that I was going for. I wanted to be that ambassador for. My university in my state. I wanted to be the one that little kids can look up to and I can be that role model, really beat that Vassar and show them what being a Mountaineer is really all about. Oh, well, that's, that's really beautiful.

Um, so I don't know if you're allowed to talk about this, but what was the process like for like applying to be the Mountaineer? Yeah, I'd love to talk about it. So it is probably the most intimidating ad application process and admissions interview processes I'll ever go through in my life. And I want to apply to medical school.

So that's pretty intimidating, but I don't think at that, we'll talk the interview process for the mountaineers. So. We had to fill out a really long application that told the admissions committee or the Mountaineer, that selection committee all about what you do at WVU. So they wanted to know your extracurriculars.

What's your GPA, you know what you're involved in. And then they selected. 10 applicants from that pool of missions they received. So from there they interviewed those 10 students and they sure pretty much ask us every single question you can imagine. It was in a board room and the Erickson alumni center.

And there was, I believe around 25 to 30 beds students. There were deans, there were our coaches on this kind of big one or a table and they were all just firing questions away and kind of a 30-minute interview. So. That was extremely intimidating because you didn't have it. How much time to think you had 30 people that were judging you, basically, depending on what your answers were.

But, you know, I just took a deep breath and answered it. You know, how I would, if I was the Mountaineer. So then from there they selected four people to try out and the cost diem and where the buck skins. And then from there, they selected the mountain here and the alternate mountain here. So it was very long process of about three months to be selected as the mountain here.

Wow. That is really intimidating. And I can't imagine sitting in a room with all those, like very important people I walked in and it just kind of like sung. I looked around, I knew who some of the youth were, and there was former mountaineers on the committee and it was just very intimidating and became very real.

Whoop, but you did it. So you're here now. So that's awesome. In this role, you really do provide a lot of insight, different groups of people. Um, so what would be the best piece of advice that you could give someone? Sure. So, like I said, I always looked up to the Mountaineer, mascot being little, and I always looked up to him or her to kind of give me advice.

You know, I still remember Michael Garcia, one of our former mountaineers coming to my high school and getting us advice on our futures and giving us advice on going to college or going to trade school, et cetera. And that's something that really stuck with me. And I, so, you know, when I wanted to try out to be the Mountaineer, I always said, I want to be that mountain here for future generations.

I want to be able to inspire future generations and make change in my university. I don't want to just be the face of the poster child. I want to be active and I want to be able to change future generations in my university for the better. So, um, you know, hopping in the role with the way the pandemic happened.

I really never received much training or I never really received much advice from Timmy simply because no, we went to lockdown. I went home, so we went home and we never really got to interact that much. So I started these zoom calls and I was just, you know, being what I thought I should be as the Mountaineer.

So I started describing, you know, what the Mount here was, what I do at the university. And I started realizing how impactful to me out near his two other generations. So it wasn't just me. There was many questions as, Oh, advice. What would you do? Or, you know, what would you do if I were you or my situation?

And I was asked a question by. A female who said, ask me about what she thinks I should, what she would do, but she thinks I would do in her situation. And she said she wanted to go to the military and she, you know, was really aspiring to follow in her brother's footsteps and join the military. And I said, No, that's great.

You know, I'm I never joined the military myself, so I don't want to give you great advice on that because I don't want to lead you down the wrong path. And she said, but I am receiving a lot of pushback from my family, from teachers, from, you know, just various people who are giving me advice because they don't think I should join the military as a female.

And I was just kind of listening to her non in my head and I wanted to continue. And she said that she really wanted to know what I would do, being a mascot figure being, you know, what would I do and give her advice. So this is a very near and dear issue to me because I have received a most, every time I hop on a zoom and see questions about applying to become the Mountaineer and whether.

Hey, could you think I could be a mountain, your mascot? And it's almost always people think it has to be a white male. They don't think you can be a female. They don't think you can be, you know, they think so many other factors come into it other than your race and other than your sex. And I immediately told her that if I were giving her advice and if I were in her shoes, I would tell her that you should never let something kind of step in your way of achieving your dreams.

There are certain aspects when you have a goal in your life and you have something you want to go to towards, there are certain aspects that you should never let step in your way. So things like your sex, things like your gender, your sexual orientation, you know what others might think of, use things like that.

You should never like it in your way, because at the end of the day, you are doing something to better you. So if you think that. Oh, I had this big dream and I have this big goal towards you. If you think that being a female, or if you think that you are the wrong sexual orientation, whatever it may be, if you think that should stop you, then, you know, that's it just something, like I said, it's very near and dear to me because.

It shouldn't do. What's good for you. You don't let being a female stop you from doing anything. Don't let being a male, stop you from doing anything. If you have a dream and a goal towards going after that, my piece of advice would be, go for it. Just jump do for it. Don't let anybody sway. You don't let anybody tell you that they don't think it's right for you.

Just go for your dreams and you never know where it might take you. Yeah, that's for sure. Uh, and so you've talked a little bit about, well, you know, um, the zoom calls that you've been on as, about near and normally, you know, in a, in a non-pandemic kind of time, you would be actually like going places in person, running activities with students, like being on all the sporting events and things like that.

Um, but it's not just, you don't just serve the WVU community. You're also going out into like high schools and you go to like elementary schools, middle schools, things like that. Like what's. I guess what, um, with all of that, what's your favorite part of being the mountains? So Timmy, Timmy, he is our former Mountaineer, a 66 Mountaineer.

He attended, I believe it was around 700 events and he only served 300 and he didn't even serve three 65 days. He served a lot less because of the pandemics. So, you know, the mountain me, or is on average about two events a day and we are anywhere everywhere. So. Like you said, we attend schools, elementary schools.

We go talk to them. Um, we give advice to students. We talk to them about the review. You never know where you're going to find him, not near mascot. To be honest, we go to recruiting events. We go, and we don't even stay just inside West Virginia. We go, you know, all across the East coast, maybe where, where they want to see some out near an abroad and want to talk about their view.

Then the mountain will go. I know. Well, it was great. You actually are. To me, I would say showed up at our sexual health fair in the spring, which is what sort of snacks we're like, Oh, Hey, the volunteers here. Great, good time promoting healthy sexuality. We love it. Um, so besides serving as a Mountaineer, what would you say has been your most fulfilling experience here at WVU?

Oh, so I've had a lot of experience that I've very, really enjoyed at WVU. And number one off the bat that comes to my mind, but have to be volunteering. I've been very fortunate to be a full-time volunteer at the children's hospital at Ruby. And it's been something that's been very fulfilling to me, you know, WVU offers so many options for volunteering and things like that. And I've been very fortunate to take advantage of those. So I think it's extremely important to give back to a community that has given me a student in me, the Mountaineer so much. So I think volunteering has been very fulfilling, but I also do research at the WVU, um, school medicine.

So that has been very fulfilling as well. In my way. I won't go into it too much because I don't want to, you know, take up so much time. But the way my research goes, we are basically developing a statement and a more effective way of doing neurological imaging. So, you know, that's something very near to me as well, because, you know, I, I don't, I hate to see a child have to go through so many, you know, procedures and so many painful imaging techniques and being able to develop one that is much less invasive and much, much more safe is really, uh, something that I strive to do.

Yeah, well, that's spectacular. So where to go, clearly you have so much free time between volunteering your research and being the Mountaineer one class and also still going to class and doing your work. So. Sure. Um, so, uh, at the end of this podcast was like to do a wellbeing snapshot, which basically takes what we're talking about today and puts it into like the current.

Situation current context. And you know, for the past couple of months, it's definitely been very like pandemic oriented. Um, And it's really not going to change here, but so the students who are first year students this year, it's definitely not the typical first year student experience. Yeah. So, you know, they're still living in the halls.

Right. But I mean, they're not really going to class is the, they should have been like, there aren't a lot of other students on campus, so it's, it's a lot different. Um, so what message would you have for all those first-year mountaineers? So it's very tough because I've actually thought of this before, you know, talking to you that how bad it must be for those first-year students, because you know, being online and being in this pandemic, it's not WVU that I fell in love with my first year, if they're not getting that full experience because.

WVU has so many things to offer from the research opportunities, from the volunteering opportunities, you know, from the clubs, from the intermural sports things that students cannot do right now. So the first thing do tell them is this isn't WVU. Let this kind of tarnish your image though view because.

No, we are in a worldwide pandemic where colleges all across the United States are having to be in this office format. So that would be my first thing. And my second thing would say kind of bear with us because this pandemic, it won't be here. We won't be in lockdown. For eternity, eventually we will have to go back to normal.

We don't know how long that'll be. I know president gee, October circle with him many times, and he wants to go back to normal some bad. So eventually we will have that normal again when students can go out and see their friends and go out and be in class. So. Bear with us that time is coming. I can guarantee you that.

Yeah. And there are still at least some opportunities for students to do some activities in person, but then just in smaller groups. So I would also encourage folks to take advantage of that and go to the refresh website and see all the stuff. Cause there is some, some cool stuff happening online, but I also understand that zoom fatigue is a real thing.

It's very different when you have to hop on so many zooms and eventually gets just monotonous and the same thing every day. But like you said, I've been very fortunate to work with her fresh. It's a very great, um, kind of activities they are doing with the university. So definitely check those out as well.

Like you were saying. Yeah, and take advantage of the beautiful weather, because right now it's phenomenal outside. It's very, very nice and starting to feel like fall. We're getting those chilly mornings. It's very good weather. Um, definitely go out and explore some of the outdoors and the beauty that Morgantown has to offer.

So, yeah, for sure. All right, well, thank you so much Colson. I really appreciate you joining us. Uh, on the podcast today, uh, walls, hopefully be seeing you around campus. I use that in quotation marks. Um, but thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And to all of our listeners, uh, thanks so much for tuning in and we will see you next time on Wellbeing Wednesday.