Austin Community College District (ACC) and Central Texas went purple November 16-20 to celebrate Riverbat Week 2020. Throughout the week, the cities of Austin, Kyle, Leander, and Round Rock issued proclamations declaring it Riverbats Day in their respective communities.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Riverbat brand and mascot, R.B., which were unveiled November 18, 2010, at the ACC Northridge Campus.
“The Riverbat represents all that we are at ACC. It’s a symbol of excellence, pride, determination, and spirit,” says Brette Lea, vice president of Communications & Marketing. “Being a Riverbat is something to be proud of.”
ACC began gathering mascot ideas in 2009; more than 1,000 suggestions were submitted. The committee spent months researching mascots, then held a number of focus groups before naming the four finalists.
“Everyone — ACC students, faculty, staff, and the community — was involved in the selection process. Before the Riverbat brand, we didn't have anything that tied all the campuses together; each one had its own personality and its own feel. The Riverbat brand united all the campuses and provided a collegiate feel that we didn't have before,” says Dahlia Anzaldua-Torres, ACC marketing events coordinator, who is also known as the “mascot mama” because she coordinates the mascot appearances.
Since the reveal, the brand has been used on the web, in printed materials, and displayed on campus. R.B. has made hundreds of appearances across the district. It’s also led to a new kids TV show, R.B. & Friends, debuting on ACCTV and in Central Texas elementary schools this fall.
Celebrations to commemorate the 10th year were held virtually with a few socially-distanced surprise R.B. appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We want to be out in the community, sharing the ACC spirit, but we knew we needed to think differently this year to help protect the health and safety of everyone while still sharing the ACC spirit,” says Anzaldua-Torres.
Riverbat Week Events
On Wednesday, R.B. celebrated his birthday by visiting Eastview Campus to assist the Culinary Arts Department with curbside delivery during the last day of service for the Riverbat Cafe.
That evening, Student Life partnered with the Office of Communications & Marketing to create a virtual birthday party for R.B. using the popular “Animal Crossing” video game on the Nintendo Switch platform. Participants joined a digital R.B. on his own island to celebrate.” More than 55 ACC faculty, staff, and students signed up to play and were able to download digital Riverbat gear for their gaming characters.
R.B. visited downtown Kyle on Thursday before going to ACC Hays Campus to help the Hays County Food Bank distribute Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings to families.
On Friday, R.B. and one of his friends virtually joined two Austin Independent School District kindergarten classes to read from the book "I Am Bat."
While Riverbat Week may be over, 10th-anniversary events are expected to continue throughout the year.