If you’ve been to any big sporting event at Western, chances are you’ve seen JW the Mustang.
JW is the official mascot for the Western Mustangs. He’s a white and purple horse, who gives out hugs, high-fives and is usually being followed by a parade of happy children.
But have you ever wondered who is behind that mask?
Well you might be surprised to learn that it’s a Western couple.
Together, Jason Lee and Jane Meng are JW the mascot.
Jason and Jane are both second year students at Western. Jason studies medical science and Jane studies BMOS and economics.
The couple attended the same high school in Oakville, Ontario, and met when Jane moved to Canada in grade 11.
"I didn't know anyone," Jane said. "I was sitting in the hallway eating lunch and then he came to talk to me."
The relationship blossomed from there and when it came time to choose a university to attend, Jason and Jane decided on Western because it encompassed both of their academic passions.
"Originally she was thinking of going to U of T and I was thinking of going to McMaster, but then I wanted to go to the same university," Jason said. " I did some research and convinced her that Western is good for both business and science."
It was Jane who had the initial passion for being the body behind the mascot.
While looking for a work study position at the beginning of the school year, Jane came across the mascot position.
Thinking that this would be the perfect role for her Jane filled out an application.
But she never got a response.
As a result, Jane decided to interview for a position within the marketing department for Western athletics.
While there she expressed her desire to be the mascot, and conveniently, the position was open.
"The girl that was supposed to be the mascot graduated," Jane said. "So they didn't have a mascot and I was like "yeah I want to be the mascot!' "
But having just one person wear the mascot suit can be a lot to handle, especially during football season when home games are often half day events.
Luckily for Jane, her boyfriend Jason was looking for a workstudy positions as well.
"I was also looking for a job through workstudy," Jason said. "Jane said to go talk to the main person and maybe I'd get an interview."
Jason took her advice and landed an interview with the marketing department.
"He asked me if I was interested in being a mascot because they only had one," Jason said. "One isn't enough because it gets too tiring and you have to switch.
Spending three hours in the mascot suit on a hot day can leave its occupant dehydrated and light-headed, so having two people available to switch half way through an event is crucial.
"The mascot doesn't have a ventilation system so it gets really hot," Jason said.
But having your mascot-mate be your significant other is beneficial for other reasons too.
With hot weather and a lack of ventilation the person behind JW is prone to extensive sweating.
"He sweat in the suit during Homecoming for the first like two to three hours," Jane said. "When I went in it was all wet."
And while immersing yourself in the sweat of your significant other isn't necessarily appealing, it sure beats spending three hours in the sweat of a stranger.
"If it was anyone else they're not going to switch for you," Jason said. "And it's nice that she's the other one because I always sweat."
But despite the sweat and exhaustion, the mascot gig has a lot of benefits.
For Jason, the reward of the job comes from getting to parade around and make kids happy.
"The kids love the mascot," Jason said. "When they chase you around, even though it is sometimes tiring, it's pretty fun because I feel like everyone is just looking at me and wants to be my friend."
And Jane feels the same way about being the body behind the mascot.
"It's like you're a giant toy and it's fun," Jane said.