Colorful bulldog statues have popped up all around Tifton, Georgia — from downtown to a variety of popular local businesses — to encourage support for the University of Georgia Tifton campus as part of the “Call the Dawgs to Tifton” initiative.
The initiative originally began as a fundraiser for UGA-Tifton’s Agribusiness Club and Collegiate FFA and expanded from there, said Katie Murray, admissions counselor at UGA-Tifton.
“We brought the Dawgs to Tifton to create awareness of our campus here and to continue to create a presence in the community,” said Murray.
UGA-Tifton houses a branch of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees studying alongside world-renowned agricultural scientists. For more information about the campus’ academic offerings, visit tifton.caes.uga.edu/academics.
Local businesses purchased the statues from UGA-Tifton and collaborated with a local artist to paint each bulldog with a design theme of their choice. The businesses also name their beloved mascot. The local Chick-Fil-A named its bulldog statue Nugget, Ameris Bank calls its statue Buck, and the local Planet Fitness christened its statue Gear.
There are 11 statues across Tifton, including two on the UGA Tifton campus, Tuga and Pal, and one at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Kilowatt.
“It’s been fun seeing the community get excited about it,” said Murray. “As they’ve taken off around town, it’s been fun seeing people getting into it and feeling like they’re part of something bigger.”
Artist Jill Whitley, who is based out of Valdosta, Georgia, was commissioned to decorate the statues because of her work for the Georgia Peanut Commission.
“I’m just honored to be able to be the one to paint them,” said Whitley.
UGA-Tifton encourages individuals to take their pictures with all of the bulldog statues and post to social media with the hashtag #NiftyTifty. Once they’ve uploaded their pictures, residents can follow the paw prints on Rainwater Road to the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory South (NESPAL) at UGA-Tifton, home of Pal, to receive a free t-shirt.
A list of the Tifton bulldog statues, including pictures, can be found at tifton.caes.uga.edu.