Being a student within a Big Ten school has its perks. From the wildly supportive student body to alumni that travel from out of town to attend football games, being a part of The Ohio State University “Buckeyes” is a privilege. While traditionally colleges tend to utilize animals as their mascots, my school used Ohio’s state tree.
Contrary to popular belief, Brutus the Buckeye is the mascot of the Ohio State due to the prevalence of the buckeye trees found throughout the state. It wasn’t made up to be just cute and quirky. According to Ohio History Central, Native Americans in Ohio called this nut “hetuck” or “buck’s eye” and would utilize the acid from this actually poisonous nut for leather making.
In reality, the buckeye tree is considerably impractical with its smelly bark and wood that doesn’t burn well. Yet, it is a stubborn tree. The buckeye tree can grow in places where a multitude of other trees can’t be found. This has served as inspiration to many Ohio natives.
According to Ohio State’s student journalism paper, The Lantern, locals within the state referred to themselves publicly as the Buckeyes during the presidential election in 1840 when former Ohio presidential candidate William Henry Harrison won. Harrison also utilized the buckeye nut, a shiny dark brown nut with a beige tan patch in the middle resembling a deer’s eye, as his campaign symbol by wearing one around his neck. His supporters wore buttons featuring buckeyes.
Due to the history and pride surrounding buckeye trees, Ohio State adapted this as the university’s nickname in 1950. Since then, Buckeyes have become famous beyond the state of Ohio. Today, there is a popular dessert of the same name made from rolled peanut butter dipped in chocolate, creating the similar dark brown exterior with a beige tan patch in the middle.
Despite how this strange it may sound to have a tree nut as a mascot, Ohio has great pride in the buckeye - especially that carrying one brings good luck to the person. Overall, you can’t deny how unique Ohio State is with the buckeyes when it comes to marketing and familiarity as a plethora of people across the country know of this special nut.
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