Branding campaign may bring flags to USF area

During the fall semester, students driving near campus may be greeted by USF flags lining the streets. First, though, a change must be made to a city ordinance that is preventing them from going up.

According to the current City of Tampa Code of Ordinances, “one temporary on-site banner or pennant may be displayed for a period not to exceed thirty consecutive calendar days, nor more than sixty days in a single year (up to ninety days).”

But the proposed USF flags to be located on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Fowler Avenue, Fletcher Avenue and 50th Street are meant to be permanent. USF also plans to replace the current flags on campus, Cohen said.

Tampa City Council members are in favor of changing the ordinances to accommodate the banners, said Andrew Cohen, a senior majoring in business and former Student Government (SG) Director of University and Community Affairs in the 2009-10 school year. Cohen has been working on the SG “Branding Bulls Campaign,” the parent of the flag proposal, for the past two years.

Cohen, current SG Director of University and Community Affairs Joseph Anastasio, SG President Cesar Hernandez, interim SG Director of Government Affairs Frank Hernandez and USF Vice President of Government Affairs Kathleen Betancourt will meet with city officials June 24 to discuss possible ordinance changes.

Frank Hernandez said that administrators have been working to develop a ballpark figure for the cost of the banners, but he isn’t sure what the exact budget for the initiative will be.

“This is sort of one of the first steps into really thumb-printing our efforts into this local community,” he said.

Cohen said when he and former SG President Juan Soltero first pitched the idea to President Judy Genshaft last year, it appealed to her.

“We’ve gotten great reception,” he said. “As important as it is for us to do things on campus, it’s also very important for SG to do things off of campus to better the University. The minute those prospective students get off the highway and they get toward USF they know where they are, they get that sense of home. We’re very excited that the president is behind us and the city is behind us.”