Students petition for mascot to use vape instead of pipe to represent 'the diverse and ever-changing student body'

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The students of the University of Miami want Sebastian the Ibis to hit the Juul. (Photo: Alec Castillo)
The students of the University of Miami want Sebastian the Ibis to hit the Juul. (Photo: Alec Castillo)

The smell of tobacco may remind you of your grandfather lighting his pipe beside the fire, but “that’s old-people stuff,” college student Alex Castillo tells the Miami New TimesJuuling, or vaping, is in — and tobacco smells like cotton candy now!

Castillo and Kevin Fernandez, both students at the University of Miami, want their school mascot Sebastian the Ibis — a bird smoking a pipe — to get with the times. The students want the mascot to “hit the Juul.”


For the uninitiated, Juul is not the singer who sang, “You Were Meant For Me.” Juul is a popular electronic cigarette that people use to vape. The device looks like a USB drive and is used to inhale aerosols that may be safer than regular cigarettes but are still linked to cancer. With flavors like mango and crème brûlée, many teens love vaping. But a Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

Students Castillo and Fernandez decided to launch a petition on Change.org to school president Julio Frenk, and are closing in on their goal of 200 signatures.

“The University of Miami is a progressive institution that should reflect the changing cultural landscape that we live in today,” their petition reads. “We, the undersigned students of the University of Miami, advocate the Board of Directors to let our school mascot, Sebastian the Ibis, hit the JUUL.”

But can’t Sebastian the Ibis still be cool without encouraging students to smoke? “That’d be so lame,” Castillo told the Miami New Times. “I would be so ashamed to go to a school with a mascot that’s just a bird. But a smoking bird? That’s dope.”

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