Category: Georgetown Magazine, Spring 2023

Title:Anniversary of Jack Crew highlights campus spirit, connection

Author: Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: April 17, 2023
Jack the bulldog on campus
Jack the Bulldog. Photo: Paul Jones

2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the Jack Crew, a group of students who volunteer to take care of Georgetown’s beloved mascot.

Jack the Bulldog makes frequent appearances at Hilltop events and is even known for such tricks as skateboarding during basketball halftimes. Father Christopher Steck, S.J., began caring for him in 2003. Eventually, Father Steck created the Jack Crew to take over Jack’s care and public appearances.

Marie Champagne, who worked at the university from 2008 to 2016, first saw flyers for Jack Crew applications around 2009 and decided to apply. “I wanted to feel that Georgetown spirit, and be part of something special,” says Champagne.

four people sit with Jack the Bulldog
It takes a village to take care of Georgetown’s beloved mascot, Jack the Bulldog, who is a popular guest at many athletic and social events. Photo: Courtesy of Cory Peterson

For John Kenchelian (C’12, G’15, ’18), joining Jack Crew also had an impact on his education.

“I knew I wanted to walk Jack before I got to campus,” says Kenchelian, so he took the popular Problem of God course with Father Steck to make his acquaintance.

Kenchelian enjoyed the class so much that he eventually minored in theology.

In addition to taking Jack on walks, the Jack Crew members drive him around in his custom golf cart, sit with him in a special area at games, and spend time with Jack.

To become a member, students are asked to have experience with animals, be comfortable facilitating a variety of interpersonal interactions, and be able to show evidence of school spirit.

Champagne encourages those interested in joining the Jack Crew to apply. “It is such a deep and meaningful connection with Georgetown and also a lot of fun.”

Even after leaving, the connections with students and fellow staff have served her well.

“We meet for lunches, including an annual Christmas brunch,” says Champagne. “We have this real bond over this dog we love.”

Being on the Jack Crew allowed her to see the dog’s comforting effect on others as well. One day during a walk, Champagne ran into a woman who had come from New York to Washington, DC for cancer treatment.

She was excited to meet Jack and asked if she could come along on the walk, and eventually “Jack just cuddled right into her, which is not like him when he’s working,” says Champagne. “It was as though he knew she was somebody who needed comfort.”

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