Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising

First Advisor

Abbey Levenshus


This study examines the utilization of higher education live mascot programs from a crisis communication perspective during the Fall 2020 semester amidst the dynamic contextual backdrop of COVID-19. Pulling from theories of relationship marketing and risk management, this research uncovers several best practices for mascot crisis communication including serving as a voice of empathy and as an ambassador for best practices. By looking specifically at Butler University’s live mascot program, this case study analyzed university social media, interviews and artifacts in order to understand how Butler utilized its live mascot program as part of its Fall 2020 semester COVID-19 communication efforts. Based on the findings, the study offers recommendations for how higher education institutions and brands with live mascots can build supportive relationships with stakeholders, especially during crisis situations.