Branding campaign exaggerates NMU

Jessica Lewandowski

Northern Michigan University; Northern, Naturally. Or Northern Michigan University; Fearless Minds?

Put a gun to my head and I couldn’t tell you what our school motto is anymore. With all of this re-branding going on around campus, it’s a little confusing to know what’s what about NMU.

I’ve watched the new recruiting video and it’s definitely interesting. Instead of pushing our surroundings to prospective students like they’ve done in the past, this new video conveys a message about NMU’s desire to help build fierce, strong and independent students with fearless mindsets.

Which I can only imagine is where we got the new motto “Fearless Minds” or something along those lines. Before I watched the video and really dug around in the new webpage, I didn’t understand what the big deal was about re-branding.

Rumors floated about retention rates being too low which pushed administration to start updating their image.

What I don’t understand is, if this is all about keeping returning students coming back, why re-work the motto?

You’ve already got those students, and I highly doubt changing a piece of the logo is going to make that student want to stay.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “You know what, this school just isn’t for me and I mean come on, have you heard that awful motto?”

I’ve met a few people who haven’t come back to see another icy winter and usually the problem has always been their grades.

Not to mention the fact that a large chunk of NMU’s population is commuting students who are usually from around the area and using NMU to save a couple bucks, spend a couple extra years living at home with their parents and to get their general courses out of the way so they can transfer somewhere else.

Or a lot of adults with actual families and spouses who are coming back to school to get a leg-up in their careers today.

I don’t think retention rates are decreasing because people don’t choose to come back, most people use NMU as a temporary schooling outlet.

After watching the video, it changed my mindset. I tried to imagine watching this video as a high school senior looking at schools, and I did feel like I got a lot of the community and school’s atmosphere.

The video does a great job of highlighting both the beauty of Marquette and the new technology and innovations administration is trying to integrate into the classroom.

I actually learned a little more about campus and I’ve been here for two years.

I had no idea we had blacksmithing labs in the Jacobetti Center or that we have aviation classes.

There are a few things this new re-branding campaign that I feel has been exaggerated.

For instance “miles of sandy beaches” and “classes being taught out in the natural classroom,” place an over-emphasis on some of our programs and natural scenery.

But the stress they put on the importance of self-reliance and how involved the school is in the community around it is admirable.

I am personally interested to see how administration continues to blaze trails and evolve NMU’s image.