A day in the sun for Sammy the Slug

Santa Cruz City Council moves to adopt resolution proclaiming Sept. 27, 2011, as "day of the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug mascot."

A triumphant Sammy the Slug briefly occupied the mayor's seat after hearing the Santa Cruz City Council approve a proclamation making September 27, 2011, official day of the UCSC Banana Slug mascot. (photo by Carolyn Lagatutta)
Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty poses for a photo with Sammy the Slug. (photo by Carolyn Lagatutta)
UCSC Banana Slug-shaped cookies, baked that morning at the Buttery Bakery in Santa Cruz, helped mark the occasion. Students descended from throughout the 2,000 acre, wooded campus to devour them. Later, each Santa Cruz City Council member received a cookie. (photo by Carolyn Lagatutta)
Everywhere he travelled on Tuesday, Sammy the Slug was mobbed. Here, well-wishers at UCSC's Quarry Plaza wish him well and munch on some cookies. (photo by Lisa Nielsen)
Fans took the time to say hello to Sammy the Slug in between classes. (photo by Lisa Nielsen)

Sammy the Slug had his long-awaited day in the sunshine this week when the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution making September 27, 2011, the official day of the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug mascot.

The Sammy events on and off campus received television and press coverage, including this post that appeared on the front page of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and was reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News.

The Sammy character was so overwhelmed with emotion that he ran up to the City Council members to express his gratitude.

For a brief moment, he even occupied the mayor’s seat.  Later, he shook hands with Mayor Ryan Coonerty, and accepted a framed, signed version of the proclamation.

After a while, the blazing-hot sun got the better of Sammy, who ducked into the shade for some well-deserved rest after thanking his supporters. A small mob of children, students, and other community members recognized him outside the City Council chambers. Graciously, he paused for several hugs and photographs before waving goodbye.

The special recognition marks 25 years of the official Banana Slug mascot. UCSC students informally adopted the yellowy, peaceable creature as a mascot character back in the 1960s, but the administration did not make it official until 1986, after the slug fended off a challenge from its archrival, the sea lion.

Sammy also made an appearance at an on-campus birthday celebration just outside the Bay Tree Book Store. After emerging from the top floor of the bookstore, the giant, walking slug distributed many dozens of banana slug-shaped cookies from the Buttery Bakery and greeted well wishers with his hearty, four-fingered handshake. Meanwhile, students wrote down testimonials to Sammy on a white poster set up at the Banana Slug Mascot booth. Among other things, they wrote that Sammy was “yellow-mellow” and a “true original.” One student said that the mascot was “Cute, slimy, and non-aggressive, just like me.”

Read about the history of Sammy the Slug at UCSC

Read about banana slugs in the news.