Another chapter of the Springfield College rebranding initiative saga was written Wednesday. Springfield’s Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Steve Roulier, addressed a Dodge Room full of faculty, staff and students in regards to the school’s progress and direction in rebranding the Springfield College name.
Prior to the start of this academic school year, the marketing and communications department has been working with a company called “Ologie” to piece together ways in which Springfield College can become more of a household, and marketable, name.
The meeting gave the impression that the process is well past the planning state, and that the rebranding is now at the point where it is being put into action. Changes such as the new school logo can potentially be seen as soon as the end of the spring semester.
The four key objectives of the rebranding are to, “Raise the awareness and visibility (of the college), strengthen the competitive position of the college, increase student recruitment, and improve advancement participation,” which will in turn guide the school toward a more marketable position.
One of the more notable changes includes reducing Springfield’s reliance on the term “Birthplace of Basketball” as a tagline. “It was saying…this is the most important message we want to get across,” said Roulier.
As a result, while the terminology the “Birthplace of Basketball” will continue to be promoted by the school, it will not be as highly touted as the one and only defining feature.
With this change comes the attempt o.0f Springfield College to distance itself from the reputation of being a “jock school”—an argument supplemented by an anecdote of Roulier’s in which his daughter’s high school guidance counselor scoffed at the idea of the idea that she apply to Springfield because of her lack of interest in sports (clearly not knowing Roulier’s position in the school).
Due to that, Roulier finds that said perception prevents the college from getting credit for all that it does because it is perceived simply as “just a jock school.”
And according to some student-athletes, getting away from the jock image is not a bad idea.
“Not everyone here is an athlete,” said junior lacrosse player Doug Sattler. “When they stereotype (Springfield College) as just athletes, non athletes are going to feel left out when there are a variety of majors here that help students intellectually.”
And as much as Springfield is attempting to distance itself from negative ideas of the school, it is attempting to bring to the forefront the positive things, both academic and non-academic that the school features.
One primary example is the school’s community outreach.
According to Roulier, when members of the campus community in all capacities were asked the question “What makes Springfield College special?” the answer invariably came back with something pertaining to the school’s desire to help and serve others.The idea is being seen as a common purpose that will provide a strong foundation for the school to build on.
On the same page of community outreach is safety—an issue that has long cast a shadow over the image of the college, and one that the college is looking to stamp out once and for all. As cited by Roulier, admissions counselors have reported that many parents guide their kids away from the school due solely to the surrounding area, an issue Roulier hopes will vastly diminish with the rebranding and with the institution of Michael Sullivan as the new police chief on campus.
The final major notion addressed was how to embrace the college’s historic past in a way that is relevant and enticing to the current generation of students. Suggested ways to do this ranged from focusing more on alumni such as Tom Waddell, Jon Cena, or even events such as Dr. Martin Luther King’s commencement address at the school.
Whatever route Springfield College ultimately elects to take is still to be seen, but Roulier stated in regards to the future that, “The college’s positioning should play upon its strengths, yet allow room for the college to expand what it is known for.”
Not everything is set in stone yet, but a solid framework has been established, and as made clear Wednesday, that framework will be more clearly seen as it gets put into action over the coming months.