It’s not often that the most “popular” person on campus is actually liked by everyone. It’s not often that someone with the responsibility of representing an entire school still makes time to hang with its students. And it’s not often that someone shaped like a circle can dance like the next Michael Jackson. These are just some of the things that make Otto the Orange so special.
I first met Otto even before I was officially a Syracuse student at “Own the Dome.” I was just a high school kid, trying to make a good first impression with my future classmates, so I tried my best to play it cool. Of course seeing Otto, I had to ask for a picture. I remember saying something like “What’s up Otto, you tryna take a flick?”, as I worked to mask the excitement bubbling inside of me. He didn’t say yes, Otto can’t talk, but he extended his hand and we posed in the typical “just-met-a-celebrity-don’t-want-to-look-star-struck” kind of pose. I never did tell anyone how happy that moment made me… but that picture was my phone background for a solid three months so it wasn’t that hard to tell.
Fast forward to SummerStart. It was an especially hot day, I had just left the basketball court after losing to an upperclassman in a one-on-one game. I was annoyed, I was hot, I was a little bit sad and I just wanted to go back to my dorm and sleep. And then it happened. I glanced around the quad in front of me, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the most beautiful hue of orange. Yes, it was Otto. He was riding through the quad on a scooter trying to spread love and good cheer. Perfect timing.
The third time I saw Otto was different, I had grown out of my “cool” phase. So much so that I ran full speed across the quad screaming “Otttooooo!!!” When I caught up with him, I gave him one of the strongest hugs I’ve ever given. We took a picture (which also became my background) and I went through the rest of my day with the happiness only an Otto the Orange sighting could give you.
Now, I see Otto on a weekly basis, walking through the quad, or jumping around with the marching band at their practices or even sometimes driving around in a car. Wherever he is, though, I know he’s spreading happiness and joy to the students at Syracuse University. Each time I see him I feel the same excitement as I did that first day at Own the Dome. And I’d imagine that many students feel the exact same way.
Jalen Nash is a freshman studying pyschology in the College of Arts & Sciences. He was raised in Flatbush, New York and attended high school in New Jersey. In his free time, Jalen enjoys playing football and basketball, listening to music, reading, and writing. Jalen hopes to make a living, and be remembered, for his writing.