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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

A tome about Norman the Gnome

Gnomes have stereotypically been known to sit on lawns and have no purpose other than decoration.

That stereotype though is long gone at Northern Michigan University where, during the last three years, Norman the Gnome has been floating around the NMU campus.

NMU Communications and Marketing student office assistant Mike Treacy is one of the creators of Norman the Gnome. Treacy said Norman started off with humble beginnings.

“In August 2010, myself and two other office assistants were working in the Communications and Marketing department,” Treacy said. “We started talking about World of Warcraft and gnomes and decided we needed a gnome in the office as a joke and we got the materials to make this gnome.”

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Treacy also said they had only intended to use the gnome as a joke in the office, but nothing more.

“We started taking pictures of it at other places like the Travelocity gnome,” Treacy said. “We set-up a Facebook account and got 50 likes on it right away.” The page now has over 1,500 likes.

Treacy said feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

“People have expressed they love seeing his posts on Facebook,” Treacy said. “People like having him at their events because it represents NMU.”

Treacy said Norman has his own NMU account and ID card as well, but in no way does Norman replace NMU’s mascot, Wildcat Willy.

“Willy is, and always will be, NMU’s mascot,” Treacy said. “Think of [Willy and Norman] as best friends.”

NMU Communications and Marketing News Director Kristi Evans said having something unique such as Norman the Gnome is a good way to raise awareness of the university.

“Norman is suited to Facebook to get the word out there about Northern,” Evans said. “Norman has become a celebrity in the gnome life.”

Treacy said Norman has traveled all over the world.

“We have sent the actual Norman…to Germany, France and Russia,” Treacy said. “My wife took him with her to Paris and when [Norman] went through the X-ray at K.I. Sawyer, she was stopped by a TSA member and asked her if there was a gnome in her bag.”

Treacy also said flat Norman’s are mailed to anyone anywhere in the world. The idea, Treacy said, was based off the idea of the children’s book, “Flat Stanley.”

Treacy said there is a possibility that there could be more than one Norman in the future.

People have suggested making a girlfriend for Norman, Treacy said, but there are no plans to create one any time soon.

Because Willy’s schedule is usually filled with athletic events, Treacy said Norman allows NMU pride to be displayed at a multitude of other events.

Students, alumni and student organizations request Norman at their events, Treacy said, not only to show their NMU pride but also to have what they’re doing noticed.

Treacy said Norman allows them to do that. Facebook, Treacy said, allows people to see what Norman has been doing.

Treacy said he’s pleased with the positive response Norman has received.

“It makes me feel good,” Treacy said. “It’s a neat idea and I’m glad we’re getting something fun and entertaining.”

Treacy said anyone wanting to request Norman may do so through Norman’s Facebook page or by sending an email to [email protected].

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