The saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But for a school that can see its 100th birthday around the corner in 2017, University of Alaska Fairbanks is not only learning new tricks, it’s teaching them too.
This week, UAF Facilities and Maintenance crews have been hard at work removing old street banners from light poles and replacing them with new “Naturally Inspiring” banners. UAF’s previous motto was “America’s Arctic University.” The “Naturally Inspiring” tagline is the brainchild of UAF staff in the Marketing and Communications department. It reflects the new rebranding of campus that kicked off last November.
Michelle Renfrew is the director of UAF Marketing and Communication and she’s excited about the banners depicting a new feel for campus. “We really want to let people know that they’ve arrived on campus,” Renfrew said. “The old banners are faded and tattered and these new installations will be brighter and more colorful.”
Make no mistake, bright new colors aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, Renfrew says they should help inspire onlookers who see them. Most signs that appear at ground level tend to be covered in snow for most of the year. The new banners, placed about 30 feet in the air, will be the most visible part of the Naturally Inspiring brand when seen by students, employees and community members.
While some of the banners simply welcome visitors to campus or display the University logo, others have statements that are meant to evoke inspiration for viewers. “We really wanted to explore what it means to be naturally inspiring,” said Renfrew. “That’s why you see the banners that say Inspiring Community, Inspiring Freedom, Inspiring Action and so on.”
Along with the new branding comes a new way of looking at the University’s impact on the environment. UAF Creative Director Jan Stitt decided that the old banners could be reused by making them into purses, tote bags, wallets and other items. There is still research to be done regarding what company will actually create the merchandise, but Stitt is confident that the revenue will come right back to the University. “We may try to set something up with the Sustainability Office or some other program,” said Stitt. “That way proceeds from the crafted items can still benefit the students.”
Renfrew sees many long term aspects of the new brand as a whole and views this phase of the project as a foundation from which other departments will work for years to come.
“We’ve worked hard to keep it current, keep it relevant,” she stated. “We really wanted to do it right.”
A current campus map shows that there will be banners on almost every light pole on campus, excluding those by the roundabout on Thompson Dr.