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Monday, 04 February 2013 15:49

MSU students who play 'Sparty' revel in role

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State's iconic "Sparty" mascot has become one of the most recognizable faces on the university's East Lansing campus. And the position is open, as the university seeks a new student to become the symbol of Spartan spirit. Besides getting MSU crowds pumped at every sporting event, Sparty appears at about 600 events annually, including campus functions, weddings, parades, alumni gatherings, charity events and golf outings. During the 23 years that Sparty has been the face of MSU, he has become a three-time college mascot national champion and evolved into an iconic brand that some say offers immeasurable benefits to the university. Ben Hatala anonymously served as Sparty from 2007-2010, per MSU tradition. He says the "surreal" experience transformed him into a "rock star."