USF students have a variety of opinions about the new slogan “Touching Lives, Improving the World.” The old slogan “Discovering USF” was officially replaced at the Board of Trustees meeting Aug. 21.
“I think (the slogan) sounds like propaganda — I mean, whose life am I touching?” said Jack Tran, a creative writing major. “I think the slogan should be something about jobs and succeeding rather than so sugary.”
At the BOT meeting, Karen Clarke, associate vice president of university relations, said that during the summer an online survey was available to students, faculty and staff with 11 options on which they could vote. She said 5,700 people voted within two weeks. “Creating Your Future — Today” received the highest vote in the online survey, but Clarke said she consulted marketing experts from USF and they decided the other suggestions were too vague. Clarke said they decided “Touching Lives, Improving the World” was the most versatile way to express all of USF’s greatest strengths and points of excellence.
Several other students agreed with the notion that students aren’t in college to touch lives and improve the world, but rather to improve personally and acquire an education.
“I think a lot of students don’t see that in everyday life but see USF as more of a business that takes in money and allows them to make money,” said Evelinda Watkins, an English education major.
Ian Jackson, a communications major, added that education is for personal, rather than global, improvement.
“The new slogan has a very caring feeling, but I don’t think people go to college to help others,” Jackson said. “It can be debated, but most people go to college for money, not to touch the world.”
But what is the purpose of a new slogan for a university?
Bill Vervaeke, managing director of Falgren Benito Advertising in Tampa, said the slogan is a challenge to the students of the university to touch lives and improve the world.
“In the previous slogan, it’s quite obvious that (USF) wanted students to discover the academic side and be surprised, but this one says the university will touch the individual lives of students and challenges those individuals to improve the world,” Vervaeke said.
Few students agreed that the new slogan fits its meaning.
Cornel Commedore, who transferred from Florida State University, said the slogan is appropriate because he’s not only going to school to improve his life, but also to improve the lives of those around him.
Sara Stepongzi, a literature major, also scoffs at the notion that USF won’t provide her a medium in which she can touch lives. She wants to teach.
“I think (the slogan) is inspiring and although it seems sarcastic, it’s better than ‘Discover USF’,” Stepongzi said. “I also like the new slogan because it’s broad and can relate to teachers and all the other areas at USF also.”
Many other students said the slogan is too broad and doesn’t represent students or USF accurately.
“The slogan doesn’t leave room for the good and the bad aspects of USF, so it doesn’t represent the school truthfully,” said Rory Reid, an electrical engineering major. “I think ‘A World of Possibilities’ would be better because it leaves a playing field for both.”
Trevon Williams, a computer engineering major, said he agrees with Reid and said ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ would have better represented the school more accurately.
A few students even had their own suggestions for the slogan.
Hebah Shair, an interdisciplinary studies major suggested this: “Your Future Lies in Your Education” as an alternative to the new slogan. She said a slogan should encourage students to study.
Changing the logo to begin with indicates a change, Vervaeke said, in the image of USF.
“Obviously USF’s brand has changed and matured,” Vervaeke said. “Every product has branding ingredients and that is the emotional connection of the product, not the bricks and mortar.”