UST Student Personifies Online Mascot Lenny the Lion
Drives School Spirit
University of St. Thomas-Houston Marketing and Communications student worker senior David Ruiz is working to instill a greater school spirit presence on campus through a student-driven Twitter account under the name of the UST mascot, Lenny the Lion.
Ruiz has been assisting with official UST social media accounts since August 2020. Ruiz said he noticed the audience included students, parents, alumni, staff and more.
This is when Ruiz went to his bosses with the idea of creating an unofficial, student-run Twitter account and made it happen September 2020 under the username @LennyfromUST.
“It’s really hard to direct messages to our students specifically. Everything I post on official accounts must be tailored to that broad audience,” Ruiz said. “I decided that Twitter was the easiest and most conversational platform for communicating with the students.”
“I wanted to make Lenny more relatable through a Twitter account that’s managed by the students and for the students,” he said. “I am trying to give the mascot a real personality of a college student, so students will want to interact with him and the school even more.”
Although the Twitter account was aimed towards UST students, Lenny the mascot has steadily gained support from outside the university, as well. According to Ruiz, there is a large community of mascots on Twitter, and Lenny was followed by Lucky the Bulldog who is the mascot for Texas Lutheran University.
Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 10, Lenny received a letter in the mail all the way from Arkansas. The letter was from a young girl who collects autographs from mascots from all over the world.
“People are starting to see him and like who he is and what he stands for,” Ruiz said. “This account is for students who have not experienced what the norm is in terms of school spirit, which is important in our new learning environment. Mascots give a face to universities, something with life, for everyone to interact with.”
By Jasmine Infante
The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s Catholic University. For more than 70 years, UST has graduated students into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more. As Houston grows, UST will continue to provide the strong leaders and skilled workers needed to meet those demands.