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Celebrating Maverick Spirit

Winners of the 2023 Spirit of Rowdy Sticker Collection competition crowned

Colorado Mesa University’s spirit soared high as the university community participated in this year’s Spirit of Rowdy Sticker Collection competition — an initiative that calls students to encapsulate the essence of being a Maverick through original sticker artwork. Proceeds from the stickers go into the Rowdy Performers' Scholarship Fund.

Established by the CMU Mascot Program in 2021, the sticker collection aims to provide students with a creative platform to showcase their interpretation of the Maverick identity using stickers as a canvas. The event was sponsored by the Department of Art and Design, the Marketing and Communications Office and the Rowdy Mascot Program.

This year, the competition involved a meticulous jury selection process. A panel of three experts from the local art community assessed the submissions and artist bios. The panel of experts for this year’s competition included Dusti Reimer from Elevate PR & Marketing and the Experience Education Foundation, Lee Borden from The Western Colorado Center for the Arts, and CMU Professor of Art and Design Suzie Garner. The panel sought designs that resonated with the heart of the contest: What does being a Maverick mean? 

CMU Senior Graphic Artist, Brand Manager and Mascot Program Coordinator Jeremy Smith explained his vision for the sticker collection contest.

“Over the past year, the campus has been involved in an important conversation resulting in a new strategic plan for CMU. The mascot team felt the strategic plan was a call to action from the president to start applying the values of a Human Scale University. We knew ‘being a maverick’ was going to be the topic of our efforts and Rowdy would make for the perfect subject matter. Engaging the students would be our human scale focus and stickers would be a fun, innovative and engaging medium perfect for a mascot to share,” said Smith.

In addition to the juried contest, the Mascot Program also organized the Spirit of Rowdy Public Art Show, where attendees cast their votes for their favorite sticker designs. The People’s Choice Award was determined based on the popular vote. While at the show, attendees also had the opportunity to shop at the annual Rowdy pop-up store, which was selling unique and limited-edition Rowdy-themed gifts with all proceeds also going to the Rowdy Performers' Scholarship fund.

The Jury Selection Award was presented to the artist whose design best encapsulated the Maverick spirit, earning a $1,000 Spirit of Rowdy Scholarship, among other valuable prizes. The People’s Choice Award winner received an $800 Spirit of Rowdy Scholarship, along with additional prizes.

Brenna Langfield, a graphic design student at CMU, won the Spirit of Rowdy Jury Selection award for her sticker design Skiing Rowdy.

Brenna Langfield's Winning Design

In her artist bio, she shared that her journey into the world of drawing and painting began in high school and now as she explores graphic design as a profession, she is honing her skills and discovering professional possibilities. While she is still defining her career trajectory, she is excited about making meaningful contributions to the design world.

Caleb Williamson, a mechanical engineering technology student, won the People’s Choice Award for his sticker series.

Caleb Williamson's Winning Sticker Series

In his bio, Williamson explained his desire to engineer products that leave a lasting positive impact on the world. Recognizing his limitations in traditional artistry he chose to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) to bridge the gap between his creative vision and technical skill for his submission. His process involved designing detailed prompts that reflected the Maverick spirit and the values instilled by CMU’s enriching environment. Williamson then made final edits manually to finalize his sticker series designs. Each of his stickers is intended to capture his educational odyssey at CMU and how he, as a Maverick, leverages the tools at his disposal to convert challenges into stepping stones toward progress.

The 2023 installment of the Spirit of Rowdy Sticker Collection competition not only celebrated Maverick creativity but also fostered unity and pride within the CMU community. Smith, the organizer of the event, anticipated that the new mascot initiative would provide some insight about how people feel about being a Maverick but he was overjoyed with how it turned out.

“The engagement from students who came to the exhibit, the amount of feedback from the faculty and staff, the support from the administration bringing this idea to fruition, the generosity from the sponsors who built the event into something the mascot program couldn’t have done itself, the jury who was committed to providing the best outcome and giving feedback, and the thoughtful submissions from the participating designers blew me away. It showed me that the Spirit of the Maverick is much more than a slogan or tagline, it is a lifestyle and creed for the Mavily,” said Smith.

Stickers from the entire Spirit of Rowdy collection will be available for purchase in coming months and all proceeds will benefit the Rowdy Performance Scholarship Fund to create an endowment for future Mavericks. To see previous sticker designs and to learn more, visit Rowdy’s website.


Written by Giff Walters