Speedy the geoduck is Evergreen’s mascot. The geoduck has been called every name in the book: weird, versatile, baffling, even a delicacy, but Speedy represents the essence of Evergreen’s charm.
What the Heck is a Geoduck?
Despite the name, a geoduck is not a geode, nor is it a duck. In fact, it’s pronounced like gooey-duck. Clearly, nothing is quite as it seems when it comes to the geoduck.
The geoduck is the world’s largest burrowing clam, with the Puget Sound geoduck weighing over two pounds on average. It’s so large, it can’t fit into its own shell. Omnia extares, indeed!
Geoducks can live longer than you or I. The longest-lived geoduck on record was 168 years old. Technically, that would makes it a supercentenarian, but we’ll settle with just super.
The word geoduck comes from the Lushootseed word gʷídəq, meaning “dig deep.” Geoducks stretch their siphons out up to three feet beneath the sand. Get out your clam-diggers.
Geoducks are most commonly found in the Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Pacific Northwest represent!
The Geoduck in Pop Culture
It’s easily the worst college mascot. Or, you know, very possibly the best.
Speedy appears as the #1 worst college mascot on SportsPickle, saying
It’s easily the worst college mascot. Or, you know, very possibly the best. Speedy has been featured on many other similar lists:
- #1 worst team names on Time
- #1 worst college mascot ever to stroll a sideline according to MSN Now. (Haters!)
- #2 weirdest college mascot, on BuzzFeed
- #3 weirdest college mascot at Campus Explorer
- #5 strangest on PetsLady
- #6 worst college mascot on Quality Logo Products’s Branding Beat.
- #7 weirdest college mascot at FirstPointUSA
- #7 weirdest college mascot at Huffington Post
- #8 most baffling college mascot at TheBestColleges.org
- One of the most unusual mascots in college sports, according to WBKR in Owensboro, Kentucky
- #9 weirdest mascot in college sports, according to Fox Sports
- #9 on Buzzfeed’s somewhat strange, but mostly awesome college mascots list
- #9 ridiculous college mascot and nickname on Rant Sports
- #10 best worst mascot of all time, according to InDaily, but they make up for it with an adorable cartoon illustration of Speedy.
- One of 11 interesting college mascots on College News
- #19 weirdest mascot in sports on MSN Sports
Speedy is one of just two non-insect invertebrate college mascots. The other is Sammy the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug. Just don’t call ’em spineless.
Geoducks have been featured in Dirty Jobs, No Reservations, Iron Chef, and many other TV shows.
From the Seashore to the Sidelines
The geoduck is a symbol of the essence of Evergreen: accessible to all who are willing to dig deep.
At Evergreen, the Geoduck represents more than team members and fans. Founders of the college wanted a mascot that epitomized the difference between traditional schools and Evergreen’s innovative ideas. It had to be the opposite of all the snarling, fierce, aggressive mascots typically seen in athletics.
It is a symbol of the essence of the college: accessible to all who are willing to dig deep—stable, yet flexible, and the antidote to departmental thinking and design that is the standard in most colleges and universities. And since Evergreen is devoted to sustainable and environmentally conscious practices, the geoduck—a integral part of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem—is the perfect representative. Geoducks are the most abundant marine animal in the south Puget Sound, with each adult clam filtering about 30 gallons of water every day.
The clam uses a tiny foot to burrow into the seafloor as it grows. Its shell can end up several feet down, with only its neck poking up into the water. Called siphons, these necks, double-barreled like a shotgun, dimple the sand like rows of wheat. Geoducks feed by drawing microscopic creatures called phytoplankton down one side of the neck, and they expel filtered water through the other. Once buried, a geoduck’s shell remains sedentary. While other clams move to avoid predators, a geoduck, when approached by a hungry crab or spiny dogfish, retracts its siphon, like a turtle withdrawing its head.—Smithsonian.com, “Geoducks: Happy as Clams”
The Humble Origin of Speedy
The Evergreen State College’s Geoduck represents the spirit of the college, chosen at a time when Evergreen’s experimental concepts were viewed as revolutionary:
- Versatility & flexibility—Evergreen can change to fit the needs of its students.
- Vulnerable & non-aggressive—Evergreen does not use competition to push academic achievement. Instead of grades, we have evaluations and an environment that encourages students to help each other rather than compete for the highest rank and grade. The opposite of big sports obsession at traditional colleges.
- Permanence—Evergreen is like a rock. It won’t go anywhere. Geoducks are rooted to the same spot forever.
Speedy Through the Ages
Factual or humorous, rustic or technical, sometimes even with a little bit of glam, Speedy has gone through many phases of life. Scroll through this slideshow to see our humble mascot’s development.