CU Denver mascot countdown: Our top picks (sorry, Golden Elk)

What does a minter look like? Despite a recent Google search, we at the Latest Word are still unsure how to picture one. But we could find out soon, because minters are among the choices offered by the student government at CU Denver as a new mascot for the school's downtown and Anschutz Medical campuses. Look below to check out the widely varied options and the countdown to our top pick.

The move to give the as-yet mascotless campus a new face began in September of last year, when the student government began conducting surveys asking students how they'd feel about the change. Of the 1,125 surveys filled out, 600 approved of a push to adopt a mascot, while 200 opposed the change. Students were asked to nominate their own options -- and while the minter may be the weirdest choice to make the finals, it's hardly the only unusual one.

"We had some students who approached us about the issue, and there was also a general consensus within the body that CU Denver didn't really have a campus community of its own," says Ronson Fox, president of the university's Student Government Association. "We took that idea and ran with it."

The resulting list, split between animals, topographic features and Deadwood characters, comprises the options that were left after the school's mascot committee weeded out any suggestions that would lose relevance after six months. Under the University of Colorado name, CU Boulder is represented by Ralphie the buffalo, while CU Colorado Springs has selected a mountain lion. Although Fox insists the change would not be a step away from the CU system, he says the hope is that it would head in the direction of increased school pride.

"It's just the idea of belonging. We'll have something we belong to ourselves," he says. "A lot of students do affiliate themselves with Boulder, and we're not trying to break off from the CU system. But we are trying to create something of our own."

In order to whittle down the list of candidates, students have been asked to vote on their favorite option via an online survey that closes February 9. The Student Government Association hopes to reach a final selection by the end of February, at which point members will present the new mascot choice to the school's administration for approval. In the coming months, both sides hope to apply the new mascot to the university's hockey and cycling teams, in addition to other club sports, in order to brand it early.

And while "no mascot" is still an option, Fox is certain the process will end with a new icon. In the meantime, he remains mum on his own vote.

"My vote is wherever the student body votes," Fox says. "This is kind of uncharted territory for the University of Colorado at Denver, so I'm looking forward to seeing where it ends."

Here's our rankings, in order of awesomeness.

13. No mascot We're with the student body on this one: Any mascot is better than no mascot at all. But try to keep that in mind when you consider the implications of the next option. 12. Minter Google-imaging "minter" is a strange thing. Incorrectly summed up as "miner" by 9News, the spelling mistake would actually be a lot easier to represent. (Picture the seven dwarves, for example.) Instead, we are left wondering what people who work at a money mint look like. If we can't stereotype them, how can we celebrate them? 11. Golden Elk According to Wikipedia, a Golden Elk is "a shooter that is made with two parts Jägermeister and one part Goldschläger." This is the closest image we could find. Click to continue the countdown! 10. Rattlesnake Sure, rattlesnakes are fierce and feisty, but they're in a lot of other states as well. Texas might have a leg up on us in this category -- and the student body came up with an additional (if way more vague) snake option further below. 9. Fourteener Mt. McKinley is a fourteener. School mascots are not. 8. Lynx Inevitably, most people would probably just confuse this with a sphinx, its much larger, much cooler Egyptian sibling. But it's better than the banana slug. 7. Marmot Marmots are already the namesake of a clothing company, Marmot Mountain Works, in addition to being an overweight squirrel. It's unclear what standards the university would be setting here. 6. Megalodon At sports games, the university's fans could play the soundtrack to Jaws while moving their hands up and down to imitate shark teeth. The mascot would probably need to come with a pronunciation guide, though. Page down to see our top five! 5. Serpent They didn't specify what kind of serpent, so we're going with this one. 4. Prospector Who says your school mascot has to have all of its teeth? 3. Charging Moose This one is especially tricky, considering roughly 85 percent of Americans have no idea what the plural of moose is. The Charging Mooses? The Charging Meese? The Moose That Is Charging Accompanied By Its Friends? 2. Harvester ant Seriously, though: Picture this on a T-shirt. Could you continue to kill ants if they were technically your school's sacred mascot? 1. Stegosaurus If you've ever seen Jurassic Park, you know that dinosaurs are a gamble. This plant-eater is one we're willing to take.

More from our Education archives: "Nancy Werkmeister, former AP at North High involved with credit recovery, now at Montbello."

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