As most people are aware, the University of Wisconsin System schools are restructuring their campuses. UW Oshkosh is absorbing both UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac, which calls for some consideration in how the schools would be named. There are many benefits and costs of changing the name, and the positives do not outweigh the costs.
There are three possible events that could occur.
The first is each school keeping its name, and the absorbed schools add something that recognizes them as part of Oshkosh.
The second is changing all the names to Oshkosh and having each other school add their name to the Oshkosh title to acknowledge the different location.
The third is for each campus to adopt a completely new name which will be the same for all schools.
A naming committee has been put together with representatives from all three schools to weigh the benefits and costs of each proposed option.
Each option is weighed by the naming committee members and marketing teams to analyze the positives and the costs to figure out the overall impact changing the names will have on the community. A temporary solution needs to be agreed upon by July 1, which will most likely be for each campus to keep its current name.
Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said a decision about the name change will likely not be reached in the next year.
“A final decision might not be reached for half a year or even a year,” Leavitt said. “There’s no rush. We want everyone to be as informed as possible.”
He also expressed his desire for the community to have quite a bit of local control, as community members will also be approached about this topic.
If the name were to change, it would create rebranding issues for all schools involved. Specifically, at UWO, all the logos for everything would need to be changed.
All the merchandise at University Books and More would no longer be relevant and would either need to be thrown away or sold at a discounted price.
Students would not want to buy merchandise with the wrong name of their school, so it would most likely be discarded. New merchandise would also need to be designed and purchased, which is also expensive.
All the University signs would need to be redesigned and installed so they no longer say “Oshkosh” on them. Both of these projects would be costly.
TitanCards would also need to be redesigned since they say “Oshkosh” on them too. This creates several problems for current students.
If new cards are distributed, all students will need to get ones. When will these new cards be distributed? Will current students have to pay for the new card, even though they already paid their TitanCard fee?
If students do have to pay for the new card, this has the potential to make a lot of students angry, and an angry student population is not something a school should strive for.
Oshkosh Student Association President Jared Schadrie said students would likely be unhappy about the name change.
“There would be a lot of push back if this was the decision they went with,” Schadrie said.
Many current students would not be too fond of this decision, and Schadrie said he encourages students to get involved if they want a say in this decision.
OSA Vice President Brett Spangler said the name change has a chance to be positive if it’s handled properly.
“If the University could roll out the new name correctly so that everyone, employers, other universities, the general public and alumni, is aware of it and the reasoning behind it, I think it could be a positive and more accurately reflect the new state of the University,” Spangler said.
Rebranding can certainly create a lot of confusion and may create more problems than benefits, especially if all the information is not correctly presented to the public.
Currently, no new names have been seriously proposed and nothing concrete has been decided.
If the committee chooses to change the names of the campuses, it will create many problems for the University and its students. I believe these problems can be very costly and might not outweigh the benefits of changing our name.
While UW Oshkosh has had a long history and has not always had the name it currently does, I believe there is enough current confusion with the restructuring that does not call for more confusion with a name change. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh name needs to stay.