The University of Central Arkansas plans to reinvent itself, moving away from its motto “You Belong” and toward something more inclusive, officials said during a town hall meeting for faculty and staff Tuesday afternoon.“We wanted a concept that better represented our university to all our constituents — not just the 17 year olds,” said Jeff Pitchford, UCA spokesman.
Officials from Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, a marketing agency, presented two concepts to a packed room full of faculty and staff. The concepts — narrowed from four concepts by an eight-member UCA Marketing Committee earlier this year — are meant to replace a slogan that has focused on the university’s effort to catch the attention of first-time freshman.
“‘You Belong’ was just a recruitment campaign,” said Nancy Ferrara, senior art director for CJRW.
The concept ‘You Belong’ was started fall 2009, Pitchford said in email. It’s time to expand “our message,” he said.
The company proposes changing the old slogan to one of two options: ‘Front and Center’ or ‘Come to Life.’ The marketing strategy would include focusing one personal stories where students or faculty express either how UCA has helped them develop their lives or how the university has helped put them ahead by focusing on them.
The concepts are based off of surveys by CJRW sent out earlier this year that asked people, including alumni, legislators and the media, questions about what was good and what was lacking at UCA. The positive words that came up the most were used to develop the proposed concepts, Pitchford said.
The move to rebrand UCA comes at a time when freshmen enrollment is up, jumping by 10 percent this fall over last fall, while other areas show a decline in student enrollment — including graduate students. Total enrollment has remained basically flat for years. This year, total enrollment declined from 11,163 on the 10th day of classes in fall 2011 to 11,108 the same time this year, or just 55 students.
Getting a new image also comes as UCA has climbed out of a fiscal deficit and has gained a financially solid footing. This summer, officials announced unrestricted cash reserves reached $12 million at the end of July. That’s near the university’s $15 million goal.
The work CJRW is doing won’t cost UCA more because it’s covered in UCA’s contract with the company, Pitchford said. In the current fiscal year, the budget for CJRW is $542,630.
Faculty President Kevin Browne, who attended the town hall meeting Tuesday, said he needed more time to consider the recommended slogans before saying which he likes, but he thought it was a good idea to look at rebranding UCA.
CJRW officials will go over the slogan again for alumni and the public at 5 p.m. today at Wingo Hall at UCA.
Pitchford said UCA plans to launch its rebranding effort internally in October and begin TV ads in November or December.