The history of Blue Crew traces its origins to The University of Toledo’s own Assistant Dean of Student Involvement & Leadership Donovan Nichols.
The current overseer of more than 350+ student organizations on the University of Toledo campus first thought of the idea in 1999.
Along with his fellow Levis Leadership UT member Jason Rodriguez, Nichols recognized the lack of a strong presence of school pride on campus. After diving into research into past events and organizations, they discovered a former group in 1995 known as the Rocket Fanatics led by Gregg Dodd.
It was a group that supported UT’s athletic programs that inspired student attendance and spirit at the University of Toledo. The group never became an official organization and the group dispersed after Dodd’s graduation.
Nichols and Rodriguez’s vision of a supportive and prideful organization extended beyond their graduation, spurring the creation of Blue Crew.
The desire for a thriving, long-living organization sparked this idea of secrecy and mystery of the organization.
Even after 19 years of existence, Blue Crew still upholds the anonymity of its current and even former members, with masks and Afros of gold and blue.
The organization even has a secret room that can be found in University Hall on an unidentified floor. If you go up to the correct locker and enter the year of the University founding, you’ll find Blue Crew’s hidden room.
Blue Crew’s secrets and mysteries aren’t intended to be interpreted as a cult, but to be the personification of the spirit and pride each student holds within themselves.
“They wear masks not to hide,” Nichols said. “They wear a mask because it doesn’t matter who’s behind the mask, it’s about the spirit and the entity always being present.”
Blue Crew’s original uniforms consisted of a white jumpsuit instead of a blue one. In the beginning, the university didn’t provide funding for Blue Crew; instead, it was the restaurant company Big Boy.
They only provided white jumpsuits with their logo to advertise their restaurant. However, as the organization grew, the university soon provided an allowance for them.
Once secured, their suits became more familiar to the current attire worn by today’s Blue Crew. All 10 members have their own set of accessories that expresses the person under the mask.
In addition to their accessories, their code names can be found on the back of each members’ jumpsuit.
Blue Crew has become such a phenomenon that has produced not only a more positively-fueled campus at UT, but also brought people together.
An association for former Blue Crew members was built to bring Blue Crew alumni and their children together in hopes of inspiring a future generation of Toledo Rockets.
“When they grow up they’re going to want to say I want to go to the University of Toledo,” Nichols said. “This is a big part of what we’ve always wanted, but it’s just grown and blossomed into so much more than a student organization.”