UT Dallas probably wasn’t a school you thought very much about when you were applying to colleges – you probably didn’t really know much about the university until you first arrived on campus for your initiation as a Comet. That’s because we’re new, and typically when people think of a “UT School,” they think of UT Austin, the mothership of UT System universities located in the capital of Texas.
So, what is UT Dallas? We don’t have a football team, we’re not located in Dallas, we barely have school spirit, and we’re like a baby in the world of colleges – that friend who is actually pretty cool but not really well-known.
However, those aren’t reasons that you should dislike UT Dallas. Let’s face it. Sure, we’re not the most prestigious school, and all the factors involved may sound bad, but they actually make us something special and unique. They make us… a meme.
Let us begin our class session of Memes 101. I’ll be your adjunct meme aficionado, showing you the reasons why UT Dallas is the memeiest school and why we need to embrace that. First of all, UT Dallas was founded in 1969, so interpret that as you’d like. Secondly, we don’t have football. Ah, the most American sport, which is pretty cool and all… but yeah, nope. We don’t have it.
Instead of football, UT Dallas has esports, chess, and Temoc chasing. UTD esports actually won our first-ever national championship in Smash Bros Ultimate so, yes, we’re good. Not to mention, our Chess team can play chess while blindfolded. Along with these nerdy achievements, we also have athletics (despite popular belief). Our D3 Athletics teams are actually pretty awesome, and you should totally stop by a home game if you haven’t already.
Then we have Temoc… yes, probably the source of all our meme culture and energy at UT Dallas. Who exactly is Temoc? He’s the official mascot of the university: an anthropomorphized comet who’s got a quirky personality and the most gains on campus. He was originally named Blaze, but that was changed due to UT Arlington’s mascot also being named Blaze. Our mascot was then christened “Temoc,” which is “Comet” backwards. Thus began the practice of calling campus entities by backwards names; in UTD tradition, “Tobor” is “Robot” backwards, and “Enarc” is “Crane” backwards.
Temoc has a sort of love/hate fanbase at UTD. His original “astronomical” appearance was unforgettable, but it also made him incredibly scary. Many people would be scared to see him in public. If you look back in the school archives of years past, you can find that UTD celebrated an event called “Temoc’s Final Birthday,” in one of their many attempts to remove the poor man from power. In the end, no attempt was a match for his grand might and meme potential. Student concerns about Temoc were recently addressed when he got a fresher, cuter, and more friendly redesign, which has given the UTD community all the more reason to let him into their lives… as if Temoc wasn’t beloved enough already!
On the other end, some students like to reject Temoc and the fact that they are at UT Dallas… for no real reason. They seem to have a hatred for anything and everything about the university. Honestly, why? I ask you, do you want to look back years from now and remember hating everything about your alma mater? Where’s the fun in that? One of UTD’s greatest qualities is how well its community can take a joke and support its members in the process; why would you not want to be a part of it?
Conveniently enough, a lot of that charm is found online. Comet memes and specialized accounts have united our campus over the years. In recent weeks, people on the UTD subreddit actually started creating a “character” for our daily health checks, which goes to show how deeply rooted our community is. Even the esports room (in the student union) is the zoo of the campus, where, normally, passing-by students point and stare at the esports athletes on their crazy gaming computer setups, but now, the campus cheers for them online.
If you’re one of the haters, or even just one of the students who never really found UTD to be their home, take my advice. Rather than looking at all the strangeness of UTD with the perspective of “gross, just why do we have that, and not football?” or “can we please just have a normal college?”, you can choose to embrace it for what it is. Let’s just enjoy the fact that we’re nerds who don’t have football or a typical college campus. Yes, our mascot is super funny, and yes, we have elite-tier esports and chess, so make the most of what we have! Take part in the memes. Relish in the community. You never know what you’ll end up adding to UTD’s legacy while you’re here.