Last month our university - California State University - decided to stop calling itself a university, and transform itself into the brand Fresno State instead. This makeover came with a new sports-team inspired logo consisting of the words "Fresno State" (minus the word "university") emblazoned with a paw print supposedly from our mascot the Bulldog (but with retracted claws, suggesting a cat more than a dog!). Underneath are the three D-words that are supposedly part of our brand identity: Discovery. Diversity. Distinction.
Perhaps to our administration's surprise, this branding exercise did not go over well with most of the academic community. Our faculty senate even passed a resolution against the ill-thought move and is trying to turn the clock back to reclaim our identity as a university. Meanwhile, the administration has pushed forward with the rebranding exercise, plastering the new logo all over campus, replacing the old university seal from everywhere it was used from faculty business cards and letterheads to university websites, and even replacing the old "csufresno" in the URLs of campus websites with "fresnostate" instead.
Continuing in the pattern of completely ignoring the campus community's wishes and taking faculty and students all for granted, the administration this week came up with yet another campus makeover move that may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel's back (one hopes, anyway). Most of the faculty (and what students are on campus in the summer) is in uproar over the decision to cut down almost 200 trees for a parking lot expansion project, ostensibly to accommodate 600 more cars in a larger, "safer" parking lot with security cameras unobscured by trees blocking their lines of sight - rather like the parking lots of soulless shopping malls! If in the process they destroy a little of the soul of our (formerly known as) university campus… well, that's just so much collateral damage.
But this time they have gone too far. This time, I am seeing a level of outrage on campus I have never seen before: outrage that is being expressed in numerous protest letters to President Welty, endless threads of emails flying between faculty members strategizing and organizing to try and bring the administration to its senses, amid fairly widespread local media coverage, not to mention blog posts (like this one here), Facebook status updates, and tweets spreading the word online.
And amid all the angst and frustration, we are seeing some creative venting, with people putting their photoshop skills to work on the logo in darkly funny ways. Here are a few new versions of the much-vaunted Fresno State brand logo I came across today:
Meanwhile, some are also wondering what Wanda, our campus' arboreal Squirrel mascot, cause celebrate of Squirrel Apreciation Week just last month (its not too late to buy a t-shirt!), might have to say about 200 trees constituting her habitat on campus being cut down and fed into a woodchipper this week.
I love these creative responses to the mess we find ourselves in thanks to our university's leadership. I think we need more. So how about it? Ready to unleash your creativity, bust out your mad (or mild) photoshop skills to hack the new Fresno State brand? What do you think it really represents? What should it look like to properly reflect what is becoming of this university? Send me your submission via email, or drop a link in the comments below if you've already posted (or found) it online on Facebook/Flickr etc. I would love to collect these logos and share them here.
Let us see if parody works where serious arguments fall on deaf years. Let's make these alternative logos go viral...