Rebranding: an identity crisis

Peter O'Neill

We won the battle against the lower case “u,” but be prepared for what could potentially be the elimination of the prestigious title of “University” all together.

The announcement of University of Connecticut’s minimalistic branding launch as just UCONN, dropping its full title, was a bold choice and very innovative at the time. With the recent changes on campus here at QU, there would be nothing stopping Quinnipiac from following suit in a never-ending pursuit to stay relevant.   Now in no way am I saying this is definitely going to happen, but it seems to be Quinnipiac’s go-to move to shed whatever skin it is currently wearing and adapt to the other universities around them.

When you go on the tour for any university, there are particular keywords the guide usually puts into his or her pitch of the school. Phrases like “self-identity,” “finding yourself” and, more importantly, “accepting who you are.” For the parents, this is a trigger that makes them dream of their young adult having late night philosophical talks, and finally pursuing a noble profession. It is a selling point that is critical to the college experience. Well, what happens when the college doesn’t know what experience it wants to give?

This university has the exact problem most undeclared freshmen come in with. Quinnipiac College, or University, or just Quinnipiac, is constantly facing its own identity crisis.

This isn’t new at all. Quinnipiac has been changing since the early ‘50s, when the Connecticut College of Commerce was renamed to Quinnipiac College, and then gained the “University” title in July of 2000. Gaining the name ”Quinnipiac University” cemented the college’s credibility as a legit place of academic learning. So why risk ruining that?

For a school that promises to give you the ability to feel comfortable with who you are, it sure does change its own appearance often. With Quinnipiac University, we have our stature. Sure, Yale picks on us for it, but we are considered a Junior Ivy League school. We do have some sort of prestige. So why can’t we stay comfortable with that classification? Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the occasional logo changes after a year or so since the last, but changing the Quinnipiac brand on what feels like a bi-monthly basis?

When it comes down to it, Quinnipiac benefits from the countless rebranding, mostly profiting from the school-store sales and enterprising. With every updated or rebranded logo comes a new wave of Quinnipiac merchandise; a new throw pillow, or car magnet, to be purchased to show off their QU class. It’s one thing to have items with school branding, but I can’t help but feel like Quinnipiac has turned into an amusement park of sorts. The campus tours end as a museum or Disney tour would, stopping at the QU gift shop so a parent can buy a few dozen Quinnipiac shot glasses for the extended family.

We have been through a bunch of brand changes, none of which we actually had any decision over.

As students, and as consumers, we do hold some decision over how successful the brand ends up. We make the conscious decision to either spend $40 on a sweatshirt, or save it for ramen noodles. Rather than spend all the money on rebranding first, and watching the outcome after, why not just ask the community first?

The 2016 lower-case “u” mishap revealed the potential of what we are capable of. It took an entire petition just to capitalize one letter, but we did achieve what we set out to do. What happens if the entire university title is disbanded? Could another petition possibly bring back the title of University?

The constant rebranding has hurt the morale of students. In all honesty, how can they accept themselves if they’re too busy constantly adapting to their ever-changing campus environment? Students may feel out of place when they aren’t even sure what school chant to yell at sports games, or look up and see the university flag has changed yet again. It is the equivalent of your teenage sister changing her hair color every other week; an effort to fit in with the new age design of other, newer universities.

But maybe that’s the problem. We aren’t just another college- we are Quinnipiac University. Whether it fits a sort of social style or not, we will never stop being a university. We will never stop educating, learning, and progressing. No matter what we’re called, or what our color scheme is. We will always be Quinnipiac University. It’s time to stop fitting in, and stand out.