Thursday, April 23, 2009

Generating Some Buzz

For several weeks last fall, different artistic interpretations of Buzz were present around campus. An auction next month gives people the opportunity to own them.

In Buzz Around Town, part of the Alumni Association’s centennial celebration, alumni, student groups and campus organizations were able to sponsor one of 25 five-foot-tall Fiberglas Buzz statues. Each sponsor then paired with a local artist, who helped translate their vision to Tech’s beloved mascot.

Starting May 15 at the President’s Dinner, 20 of the 25 statues will be available for auction online. For a minimum bid of $500 or $1,000, members of the Tech community can own part of the campus-wide celebration.

“Since a lot of the Buzzes were created specifically for campus organizations, alumni who align with these groups are expressing interest,” said Renee Queen, vice president of Marketing Services for the Alumni Association. “Alumni from around the country are sending e-mails asking about them.”

Queen says 10 statues on each side of the walkway will flank attendees as they enter for dinner. The auction will be open for a week, closing May 22.

Sponsors have purchased four of the 50-pound Buzz statues ”two individual alumni, the Alumni Association and Auxiliary Services” and one was sold in a previous auction. Winning bidders must sign an agreement in compliance with the use of Buzz’s image and trademark.

Queen says there have been many requests to hold another Buzz Around Town event, which was held specifically for the Association’s centennial.

“While people have expressed interest, we have no plans to do this again,” she said.

“As far as I’m concerned, these 20 statues will be the only ones available for auction.”

After the fall semester, each statue was taken for repair and paint restoration. Proceeds from the auction will go toward the sponsoring organizations, with a small percentage being used for administrative costs.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Queen said. “We’ve been able to support student organizations and many local artists. And I feel so attached to each one. Each one epitomizes and shows the Tech community.”

Buzz Around Town facts

For Buzz Around Town, sponsors paid $1,600 to acquire and decorate a Buzz. Student organizations paid $800. Of the 25, 11 were sponsored by student organizations. Alumni sponsored nine, and Tech departments and organizations sponsored five.

Although every Buzz statue has undergone repair and restoration, Queen says the BuzzCard Buzz, sponsored by Auxiliary Services, was the only statue not damaged.

Tech organizations included the College of Engineering, the Alumni Association, the Georgia Tech Foundation, Auxiliary Services and the Tech Parents Program.

On the Alumni Association’s Web site, visitors were able to vote on which they thought were the best. The A.E.K.D. Buzz, sponsored by Kappa Sigma Fraternity, was voted the favorite.

Alumnus Kimberly Davis-Blackstone sponsored “Heritage Buzz.” Artists included David Boyd Jr., the art teacher at Heritage High School in Rockdale County, and Davis-Blackstone’s daughter, Nicole Young.

Alumnus Susan M. Davis sponsored the “Celebrating the Power of Women’s Contributions at Tech and Beyond.” Davis was the first female Buzz mascot, and the yellow shoes on the statue recall a time when she forgot her black high-tops while the team was playing out of town. The only shoes she could find at the last minute were yellow.

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