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No need for North Tampa branding now

Published: Thursday, July 21, 2011

Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011 08:07

By now, many students have noticed the Bulls flags branding USF's campus and the ongoing Leroy Collins Boulevard construction, but may be unaware that they represent part of a larger goal.

USF has joined the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Busch Gardens and University Community Hospital to form the Tampa Innovation Alliance. According to the St. Petersburg Times, the project was inspired by USF's "Branding Bulls Campaign" and has two plans: offer more welcoming entrances for these locations and brand North Tampa as an attractive, job-creating location for other businesses.

The group has gathered some early attention, meeting with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the Museum of Science and Industry, according to the Times. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that firms in California, Massachusetts and New York have also expressed interest in being consultants.

Yet, in these tough fiscal times, USF should be wary of spending money outside the University instead of inside. The USF System has had its state funds slashed, students' tuition has been increased the full 15 percent and employees have lost 3 percent of their salaries to their pension plans in this legislative season alone.

Though not necessarily part of the Tampa Innovation Alliance, USF entryway construction such as that at Leroy Collins Boulevard displays the exorbitant costs of just the short-term goal of improved entryways.

Ray Gonzalez, assistant director of project management for Facilities Planning and Construction, said to The Oracle that the construction projects will cost "several million dollars" from "University accounts."

One can't help but wonder how those millions could have been spent elsewhere within the University.

While the new landscaping and banners may better "brand" USF's entrance, it's unlikely such aesthetics would ever be the determining factor for businesses scouting locations.

Creating more inviting entrances for USF, Busch Gardens, Moffitt Cancer Center and University Community Hospital only represents the short-term goals of the group. As the economy shows little sign of improving, investing money into a multi-year branding venture is unwise. USF President Judy Genshaft suggested each of the four institutions donate $100,000, according to the Times, to start up the alliance.

Some of the proposed changes, such as renovating Fowler and Fletcher avenues, would be more immediately beneficial. Yet, with the number of traffic accidents and fatalities on these roads, including USF student Kayoko Ishizuka last year, the issue is one of safety as opposed to beautification.

It's nice that USF wants to "create a sense of entry for the university," according to the Times, and promote the growth of businesses surrounding the campus. With tuition increasing and salaries suffering, however, the University needs to ensure that students, faculty and staff have the means to enter in the first place.

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Mon Aug 15 2011 08:40
The area surrounding our Campus is just one level above Ghetto
Tue Aug 2 2011 13:11
USF's academics is just as competent as that of UF and FSU. There seems to be a lingering ignorance that misinterprets one's seniority as a means of measurement. While USF is barely half the age of its older counterparts, USF already maintains hallmarks that rival them. What we need now is to further the cultivation of both Tampa as a college town so as to attract quality students. Students will not want to attend a university whose home town does not support it with the same ferocity as Tallahassee and Gainesville does for its universities. What we need are Bulls faithful, and in order to do that we need to give them something to be proud of, a campus that's pleasing to the eye and a town that stands behind the school. We are already garnering academic prowess and it won't stop unless we stop attracting quality students.
Mon Jul 25 2011 11:43
But how will decorations improve academics at USF? Are we as good academically as UF or FSU? If not, then that money shouldn't be spent money on flags.
Sat Jul 23 2011 17:04
Tampa needs to increase its support for USF. Prospective students look at more than just the school, but also the area that the school is located in. Tampa is suppose to be bulls country, but the pride isn't there. This green and gold branding of Tampa is EXACTLY what we need. If we want to compete with schools like UF and FSU, Tampa needs to step up its game. The more USF flags, green and gold banners, the better.
Fri Jul 22 2011 13:27
Great editorial
Thu Jul 21 2011 12:05
USF always crys about not having money but that never stops them from spending it

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