Creating its image through Words

Just Do It. These three words took a sneaker and made it larger than life.

In that same vein, USF is looking for its own catch phrase to try to encapsulate its spirit.

In the process of renewing its image to the community, USF has organized an “aggressive” project to obtain a slogan that that will illustrate the university’s vision.

Via an e-mail interview, Karen Clarke, USF associate vice president of university relations, said in the past 10 to 15 years USF has become a national research university, but that in many ways, she said the public’s perception of USF has not upheld that reality.

Last week, most students, faculty and staff who have a USF e-mail address received a poll with 11 suggestions for a USF “positioning line” or slogan that would subsequently represent the university in the future.

Positioning lines are common throughout the country’s top universities, Clarke said. For example, the University of South Alabama’s slogan is “Making a Difference” and Virginia Wesleyan College’s positioning line is “Bridging the gap between classroom and a career.”

In addition, the Montgomery’s Auburn University’s slogan reads, “Here you will be challenged to think for yourself.”

With USF’s selections such as “Research Made Real,” “Your University for Life,” and “Education. … And Beyond,” the USF poll failed to have any extra room for other suggestions.

Gabriel Cuhna, an incoming USF freshman, said he was fond of one of the suggestions on the poll.

“The (slogan) ‘Imagine the possibilities’ seems broader; it shows that (USF) is a very diverse place,” he said.

The 11 taglines on the poll were gathered over several months by collaborating with different faculty, staff and students who contributed with different perceptions, as well as information, said Clarke.

Clarke said the “positioning line” has to convey what USF has become and what it aspires to be.

She added that USF has used positioning lines before. One of the most current ones is “Discover USF.”

Though Clarke denied that USF is trying to rectify its image after the American Association of University Professors recently condemned the university, Sunni Barbera, a USF senior said this project definitely has to do with an image boost.

“I think USF should have dealt with the (Sami) Al-Arian case better,” Barbera said. “I don’t think a new slogan is going to help people come here.”

However, Cuhna said he thinks it is cool USF is trying to get a new image.

“It shows that (USF) is actually trying to get in touch with the kids,” Cuhna said.

Conversely, Barbera said she thinks it is cheap for USF to try to get a new tagline.

“People are going to come here because of the education and not because of all of the hype,” Barbera said.

Barbera added that she did not appreciate the USF poll comparison with Nike’s well-known campaign of “Just Do It.”

“For many people, Nike has a negative connotation,” Barbera said.

However, Barbera mentioned the upcoming Barnes & Noble takeover as another way for USF to try to commercialize education.

But Clarke said USF would start making use of the most popular positioning line in its advertisements as early as next fall.