Over the past week, UC Riverside Athletics announced that it would send its lovable mascot Scotty the Bear all around the city on RTA buses to select one rider every month as a prize package winner, which includes four tickets to an athletic event, four T-shirts, a parking pass and pre-game hospitality. Functioning as an effort to get the community more involved in athletics and hopefully boost sales as well as fan participation, the joint deal will be over the span of a year.

Let me say as a person who has taken the RTA buses countless times, I absolutely love the idea. If you have ever jumped on the number one or 16, then you know there is interesting crop of people that use public transportation, us students included. Over the course of three years, I rode the bus nearly every day and it still remains the only place that I’ve seen both random acts of kindness as well as bizarre bouts of madness at the same time. The essence of humanity is present, from extreme hospitality to disgusting arrogance. I’m extremely excited that people interested in collegiate sports and who have constant “barbershop talks” about them while on the bus are now afforded the chance to attend games that might otherwise not be possible.

This agreement is also huge for the university. It’s no secret that UCR has difficulty securing student participation, let alone reaching out to community members. This deal will not only allow more positive publicity for the university, but it will also be refreshing to see the surrounding UCR area become more actively engaged in the sports programs. “We have always been big fans of our local colleges and universities, and this partnership with UC Riverside is just another way for us to show our school spirit,” said RTA Chairman of the Board Marion Ashley in an official statement. The university has already selected their first winner for the month of September near the Magnolia Towne Center.

So while the UCR bus faithful hop aboard the RTA, look out for our mascot giving out free prizes to our fellow city members. It might bring a smile to your face; I know it certainly has to mine.