Georgia Southern launches new merchandise line to benefit ‘Freedom’ and the Wildlife Center

Georgia Southern is launching a new brand and merchandise line that will benefit and honor Freedom, the University’s live bald eagle mascot that flies before each home game in what many call the “most exciting 30 seconds in college football.”

Unable to survive on his own because of an injury to his beak as a newborn, Freedom came to Georgia Southern in 2004 and now lives at the University’s Center for Wildlife Education in Statesboro alongside other eagles, raptors, reptiles and waterfowl. He will celebrate his 20th birthday this December.
As an ambassador for Georgia Southern and symbol of our nation, Freedom has inspired thousands annually at the Center for Wildlife Education, Georgia Southern football games, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah, commencements, community events and other appearances, such as at the Charles Swab Classic PGA tour event earlier this year in Texas.

To support Freedom and the Wildlife Center, University Communications and Marketing, Georgia Southern’s office of Athlete Brand Management and Licensing, the Wildlife Center and the university’s retail partners are collaborating to launch a new line of merchandise featuring Freedom. One shirt includes “Freedom’s Ride,” and depicts Freedom perched in the back of a 1977 International Scout often seen around town as it’s owned and driven by handler and Wildlife Center Executive Director Steve Hein.

“Freedom belongs to Georgia Southern students, faculty, the Statesboro community and all those he encounters” Hein said. “It’s natural to want to express a unique relationship spanning 20 years and what better way to do this than by making his image available for people to wear and promote. I’m excited about this program, honored to be his plus-one, and greatly appreciate everyone’s support for Freedom, his care and his future.”

The Freedom merchandise is designed to be both inspirational and stylish. Items are in development, but initial offerings could include:

Proceeds will benefit the Wildlife Center and Freedom’s care. Items will be available starting this week at Southern Exchange near the Georgia Southern campus in Statesboro and will be available soon at the University Store on the University’s Armstrong and Statesboro campuses and in the gift shop at the Wildlife Center located on the Statesboro Campus.

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