The school's nickname, "Zips," is a shortening of "Zippers," a pair of rubber overshoes and a brand name of the BF Goodrich Company of Akron. It was originally adopted by the school in 1925 after a contest to give the school a nickname. "Kangaroos" was one of the choices at the time. In 1950, the current nickname was adopted because of the rising popularity of zippers in use on pants. Two years later, a committee suggested the kangaroo as a mascot, and it was accepted by the student council on May 1, 1953. Originally, it was met with derision, as it was not put to a campuswide vote. However, over time, Zippy has become a fan favorite at the school.
"Zippy" has always been a costumed mascot, and currently wears a blue letter-sweater and a gold-and-blue rat cap. In a 2010 interview, she stated The Things They Carried was her favorite band.
In 2007 Zippy was chosen as one of twelve collegiate mascots to compete for Capital One Bowl mascot of the year. With an unprecedented 13–0 record, Zippy was named the winner on January 1, 2008.