Rocky The Red Hawk Turns 16

By Sam Carliner, Contributing Writer

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Rocky the Red Hawk celebrated his 16th birthday on October 5th.
Taylor Risley | The Montclarion

Montclair State University’s mascot, Rocky the Red Hawk, celebrated his 16th birthday by doing what he does best– bringing joy to campus.

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Rocky was spotted dancing in the student center since early in the morning.
Taylor Risley | The Montclarion

As early as 8 a.m. Rocky was found dancing around campus while members of Team Rocky handed out free food and invitations to his birthday party.

Residence Life provided 500 free bagels to celebrate the special day and once those ran out, students who were lucky enough to run into Rocky were given bags of candy.

“Rocky’s our school mascot and he’s always going out and celebrating other people, so it’s nice to be celebrating him,” said Hannah Wiese, Coordinator of Marketing and Digital Media for Student Development and Campus Life.

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Different campus organizations had tables set up with small free gifts.
Taylor Risley | The Montclarion

Free bagels and candy weren’t all Rocky had to give. Many students went to the Student Center Ballrooms to continue to celebrate the special occasion.

Campus organizations had tables around the ballrooms and offered free gifts such as CDs, lip balms and cupcakes. The birthday bird himself spent the afternoon dancing and posing for pictures with students.

“When I see Rocky, I don’t know who’s in there, it’s just a happy feeling,” said freshman Yassmine Elkayal. “I found [Montclair State] doing a birthday party for him adorable.”

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Photobooths were set up for students to take pictures with their friends.
Taylor Risley | The Montclarion

Some of the most popular attractions were GIF and photo booths where friends could take pictures together, a Dining Services table full of colorful cupcakes and a prize wheel for students to win t-shirts.

“I love that Rocky is involved with the students,” said senior Sedrick Celestin.

Students were not the only people Rocky decided to give gifts to on his birthday. At the swipe-in table near the entrance to the party was a box and a big sign encouraging students and faculty to leave donations for the local food pantry.

The party included a speech from Montclair State President Susan Cole, a crowd singing happy birthday to Rocky and cake for everyone.

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Rocky the Red Hawk was excited to see President Susan Cole at his birthday celebration.
Taylor Risley | The Montclarion

Towards the end of the event, students gathered for another opportunity to get free treats. Prizes were raffled away and the lucky winners received sweatshirts, a $100 gift card to the university bookstore and a parking pass good for 10 free uses at Red Hawk Deck.

“I have only been here for a month, but in that time I feel like people are excited when Rocky is around,” said freshman Kyra Maffia. “He brings a lot of joy to campus.”

After the party, Rocky went around campus one more time to give out the remaining cupcakes and candy.

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Rocky spent the day dancing and posing for pictures with the students.
Taylor Risley | The Montclarion

“He makes the school,” said graduate student Nkechi Okpara. “He’s the bird that brings the school together. Everyone is so happy to see him. He’s a good mascot for us.”

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