I’m sitting in the new cafe on the third floor of O’Connor Hall, patiently sipping my soy latte, when Hot Wyngz strides in the room. Wearing an SJC Long Island backpack and a weathered expression, I can see he’s got a justifiable reason for being 15 minutes late to our interview. I stand to greet Wyngz, motioning to the chair for him to sit, but he’s not interested. Like most golden eagles, he’s more comfortable in flight.
After his order is prepared — venti cappuccino with gluten free bird seed — we set off. I fumble with my notepad and voice recorder as students and staff stop in the corridors to bombard Wyngz for selfies, hand shakes and the occasional favor. “Hot Wyngz, it’s my girlfriend,” one student remarks. “She’s going to leave me for an upperclassman. Can you talk to her?”
Wyngz abides. As he always does. Equal parts convivial, accommodating and fraternal, Hot Wyngz has been a staple of the SJC culture community for more than a decade. As is usually the case, it takes nearly a half hour for Wyngz to break free of the maddening crowd. When we’re finally in the open air of the SJC Long Island Quad, I begin to find out what makes this bird tick.
What led you to St. Joseph’s?
OnCampus: “Surely you had your pick of colleges after high school ended, what made you decide on St. Joe’s?”
Hot Wyngz: “If I had a golden feather for every time I heard that question. Bottom line, SJC was close to my nest, and it boasted a familiar environment with a tight-knit community. Mainly it was the instant connection I made with the faculty and staff. I wasn’t just another mascot here.”
I wasn’t just another mascot here.”
OnCampus: “You were recruited to the SJC Dance Team, heavily recruited I should say, before your injury. Did that hurt your decision to stay?”
Wyngz: (Deep sigh) “Yeah, I figured you’d ask about that. It’s tough for me, being a bird. My bones are hollow, they don’t react well to tumbling — I guess you could say an injury was inevitable. But silly me, I thought I could beat the odds. I made it through high school as the top recruit for mascot dancing — jazz, tap and modern. I shattered my tibia, fibula and pygostyle my first SJC Dance practice. But it turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise.”
Studying, socializing, painting still life — a typical day in the life of Hot Wyngz.
A Major Change
OnCampus: “Can you explain what led you to the biology field?”
Hot Wyngz: “Absolutely. Initially I was looking for a bit of respite and refuge from the student body. My bones had been shattered from my dancing accident, and I could no longer high five. That… took a toll. (Pauses) I found that the gorgeous biology labs in the basement of O’Connor Hall were the perfect sanctuary. From there, I started conducting my own experiments for fun.”
I found that the gorgeous biology labs in the basement of O’Connor Hall were the perfect sanctuary. From there, I started conducting my own experiments for fun.”
OnCampus: “Which of course brings us to you discovering cold fusion.“
Hot Wyngz: “Yeah. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. But apparently it hadn’t been discovered yet. There was a whole media blitz surrounding it. I’m not really big on the limelight, so it was a bit awkward. (Hot Wyngz sees someone he knows, does a double somersault toward them and waves, does a retreating double backflip and returns to my side.) Ultimately, I’m just a simple a mascot who wants to be left to himself.”
Under the Feathers
OnCampus: “Not much is known about your personal life. Anything you care to share here?”
Hot Wyngz: “I’m allergic to shellfish, I think country music is getting better every year and these extended heat waves are killing my plumage. I’m molting almost nine months of the year now, and that’s an issue — especially in the middle of class. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to leave the room because of excessive shedding.”
I’m a simple golden eagle who loves this area and loves this school.”
OnCampus: “Yes, I’ve noticed. You don’t migrate south either during the winter. Why not?”
Hot Wyngz: “I got a good setup in town. I migrate to Downtown Patchogue — mainly for the cuisine and the nightlife. I’m a big crepe fan, I’ve eaten so many at Sweet n’ Savory that they named one after me. Get a bunch of nice student discounts around the area too, so I stay local. Like I said, I’m a simple golden eagle who loves this school. And if you ask me now if I’d do anything different these last few years, I’d say No Way. If I could relive every moment at SJC again, exactly the same, I would.
“… Maybe not the shattering half of my bones in a freak dance team practice accident. Everything but that.”