Darious Robertson speaks about his time as Roomie the Lion

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Darious Robertson speaks about his time as Roomie the Lion

Dylan Meche/The Lion's Roar

Dylan Meche/The Lion's Roar

Dylan Meche/The Lion's Roar

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After four and a half years of representing the university as Roomie the Lion, the former mascot is preparing to pass the torch.

Darious Robertson graduated in the fall of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He revealed that he was Roomie to his fellow graduates and the rest of the university at commencement by holding the feet of the mascot’s costume while receiving his diploma.

Robertson has been Roomie since the fall of 2015 and described why he decided to reveal his identity. 

“People were always wondering who Roomie was, and some of your best friends that you have been to college with for years have been taking pictures with you and they never noticed,” shared Robertson. “I don’t get a whole lot of chances to be honored as Roomie since we keep it a secret. This is the one thing I wanted to do to let people know why I did this.”

He explained that his opportunity to audition arose during his freshman year after he became a cheerleader.

“While I made the team, there were a few too many of us on the team,” said Robertson. “The old Roomie had just left his position at this time, and I thought that it would be fun. I did a little mascotting back in high school, so I figured I would give it a shot.”

Prior to becoming Roomie, Robertson never saw himself as the mascot even though he served as his high school’s mascot. However, after receiving the opportunity to become Roomie, it stuck with him throughout the entirety of his college career.

During his nearly five-year run as the mascot, Robertson made many appearances as Roomie. He explained how he managed these events throughout his time at the university.

“Being Roomie isn’t like having a 9-to-5 job,” described Robertson. “It’s more like we plan events ahead of time, and that’s when Roomie goes to those events.”

Robertson also explained how Roomie’s activities are spaced out through the course of the year.

“Usually, before the beginning and towards the end of football season is usually when Roomie isn’t as busy,” shared Robertson. “However, for football season, there is a lot of going to events, visiting sponsors and things like that. Most of the busy work of being Roomie is going out and meeting a lot of people because as the mascot, you are the face of the university.”

During Robertson’s career as Roomie, the mascot’s design went through some changes. He shared that a lot of things changed for him because of the new look.

“When we transitioned to the new design, I got a lot of amenities that I had never got before,” said Robertson. “I had my own changing area, I got a place to store all of my stuff, I got a lot more attention from the Alumni Association and Greek life. I also received a chariot to drive during the games. All of those changes were pretty great.”

One of the biggest challenges for Robertson was the heat inside of the Roomie suit, especially during the summer.

He described a particularly challenging event in which he became overheated in the suit.

“I remember my very first football game as Roomie, I was overheated and dehydrated,” shared Robertson. “One of the people that helped me out of the suit said that I was so dehydrated that my skin had turned white. I had to go to the hospital and get an IV after that.”

Looking back at his time as Roomie, Robertson shared what he enjoyed the most about being the mascot.

“The best parts were always just walking around campus or walking around somewhere in Hammond and getting to meet people,” said Robertson. “Everyone knows who Roomie is, and it is always nice because I always got to meet someone new. There was always a student or community member that I had never met before.”

Recently, Roomie has attended birthday parties for sponsors’ kids.

“Being a collegiate mascot, most of the time you are around college-aged people,” explained Robertson. “Sometimes, college-aged people can not be the nicest people. So, it is great to go and visit children who don’t really know that Roomie is a character. It is real to them, and when they do enjoy it, you can see the sparkles in their eyes and they smile a lot bigger.”

As Robertson ends his career as Roomie, he described how it felt to leave a legacy.

“It is a different sort of feeling, honestly, because as far as I know of, there has never really been a person who has been Roomie for this many consecutive years,” shared Robertson. “I have been doing this for almost five years, and I have transitioned from the old Roomie to the new one. So, that makes me become the standard for what the next Roomie has to do. You don’t come to college expecting people to model what they do after you.”