MUN Marketing vs. the GSU

The Graduate Students' Union at Memorial University of Newfoundland has issued a statement voicing its displeasure with the university's new marketing campaign, and in particular, the new logo. While the GSU news release is not available on MUN's website, the Marketing & Communication department's press release, and response to the GSU are.

The university takes issue with the GSU's statement, and states that its "goal in this marketing initiative is to build on the strengths of Memorial University, to make it stronger for your benefit as students and for the benefit of the entire province".

By now you all know my opinion. While I think it's great that Newfoundland photos, etc. will be used in the marketing campaign, I have not yet heard an argument that convinces me that removing Newfoundland from the logo is necessary or beneficial. I'm not the only one who feels this way. In the past two weeks, over 850 people have signed a petition saying that they want Newfoundland kept in the logo. The university has said it would like to have feedback from the university community. Maybe 850 letters need to be written to have an impact.

Marketing & Communications:
MUN president Axel Meisen:
Alumni Affairs:
Members of the Board of Regents (including alumni & student members):
The Muse editor John Rieti:
The Gazette:

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  1. I've been exchanging emails with Victoria Collins as well. you can reach her at

    I won't post her replies, but they more or less mirror the university press releases and websites. I was pleasantly surprised that she answered, though, and that her answers weren't simply cut-and-paste. I still disagree, but am hopeful that they're listening somewhat.

  2. I corresponded with Michael Pickard, and while I don't think we'll ever agree, he responded thoughtfully to each of my arguments. I appreciate that the MarComm staff has taken the time to respond to the public's comments; many people wouldn't take the time.

    I too, am hopeful. :)

  3. Yeah, I've chatted briefly with Michael as well, mostly to discuss why they're hitting the blogs so heavily the past few weeks.

    I'm a cynic, I guess, and I have zero faith that MUN will scrap that logo. They might tweak various aspects of the campaign, but I doubt that logo goes. That would require them to admit they were wrong. And large institutions, such as MUN, do not readily concede such things.

    It may change...but it's going to take months and months of ire and disdain over the new logo before that happens. I'm pleased the petition and reaction has been so strong the first couple of weeks. Let's see how it's doing in September and October. If it's still going strong then, there might be a chance.

  4. OK - my first time posting.

    As I have said to many people already, watching blogs is much like watching the newspapers. The communications team at MUN is interested in people’s opinion, and I have been surprised that people are surprised. We’ve spent over a year developing a plan, and have consulted hundreds of people throughout the process from strategy to concepts to logo marketing plan.

    Some people may disagree with our methods and outcomes, but we have had a lot more support and endorsement than the blogs and petitions would indicate. It’s been great. More importantly, this is part of a process; it's not 'a new logo' and that's it. Our team would much rather be a pariah for a logo that some people find unpopular than a pariah for, for example, a 40% decline in student enrollment over the next 15 years due to a declining population. I can't live with that, so I'll take the criticism from a vocal group, because our research (despite the opposing view) has brought us to this point. People may disagree; they’re entitled.

    We are moving full steam ahead. We have Orientation, student recruitment, research reports, web look and feel and subsequent dynamic content, mass media promotion, plus dozens of events, signage, stationery, publications, and the like to produce – all in the next three months. Busy times. We certainly won’t be stalling those things. Much of this has been designed this month, and is being printed and launched now or shortly. I think a lot of people think that this is just a 'switch-over' - but this is part of a strategic integration of communications, so that we can start to have an impact much greater than we currently do. That may sound like jargon, but it is exactly what we are doing. For people who don't think a change is needed, I'd encourage them to start looking at the staggering demographic trends in this province. Acadia, St. FX, Dal, and many other universities actively recruit in Newfoundland. We actively recruit all over the world, and we have a need to differentiate and compete. We are trying to attract explorers and adventurers, but not necessarily tourists. This university, more than any other in Canada, is about being creative, on the edge, determined, tenacious, strong-willed. That's the type of student who seems to be interested and who will succeed at Memorial. We will absolutely be giving our plan the opportunity to work.

    That said, the feedback is important, and it has reinforced - VERY STRONGLY - how important it is to convey messages about Newfoundland and about our history and heritage as a living memorial. This was part of our plan from the outset, but the feedback is appreciated and has helped reinforce it. I think what people will find is that those messages will be conveyed even more strongly in the next year than ever before.

    If you go to our Bookstore today (or in September), 90%+ of materials will have something MUN related other than the new logo. Also, only 5-10% of what the Bookstore sells has ever had the official coat of arms, because it does not sell well…I'm generalizing, but it’s not what people want to buy. For years, most things have had just “Memorial University” or “MUN” sans public complaint.

    Since it has never been MUN officially (there are no ads or brochures or signage or stationery with MUN on them), I can’t imagine people seriously think it might suddenly become MU. Officially, we have never used an acronym, and that won’t start with MU. Last time I checked, no one calls McGill “MU” or Harvard “HU”. People haven’t stopped saying UNICEF even though the acronym no longer includes an I or an E (it’s now the United Nations Children’s Fund (with ‘International’ and ‘Emergency’ removed), no one started saying UNCF, and I can’t imagine they will).

    Newfoundland and Labrador is and will continue to be tantamount to how we position ourselves. The name of the university is Memorial University of Newfoundland. A main part of the mandate is to have a comprehensive enough base to be able to serve the province as well as compete globally…enough students to offer just about all programs; at a high enough level to compete internationally. Our marketing program is designed to support those things, and really I hope people will give it a chance.

    I’m happy to hear from people – I can be reached at mpickard – at – mun – dot – ca

    Blog watchingly yours, Michael Pickard

  5. Reminds me of open line - lol - "long time listener, first time caller".

    I think everyone agrees that Memorial University of Newfoundland needs to market itself competitively and on the global stage.


    I do not see how removing Newfoundland from the logo can help MUN differentiate and compete.

    I agree that this university, more than any other in Canada, is about being creative, on the edge, determined, tenacious and strong-willed, especially when it comes to provincial pride and honouring history. And I believe the majority of the university community wants the connection to the province and country's history to continue through the inclusion of Newfoundland in the logo.

    Thanks for commenting, Michael. It's always good to hear the position of those in charge.

  6. I think that one of the things that MUN has never really gotten is that students need money and many will go where the scholarships are. Undergrad scholarships are few and far between at MUN. There are entrance scholarships, but if you're in the arts, you're out of luck for the most part from then on in. Until you graduate. And then you might get another scholarship.

    Grad fellowships are another area that needs work. In some departments, they're pretty good. Others... not so much.

    Why did we move to New Brunswick to go to UNB over, say, DAL? Money. tuition was lower and scholarships were greater.

    If you wave money at students, they will come. If you lower tuition, they will knock your door down to get in. Especially if you have a solid program.

  7. Vicky, I agree!

    Tuition and the availability of scholarships/grants/bursaries was also a factor in my choosing UNB rather than Dal for my second degree. Fredericton itself didn't have any initial attraction for me (although I quite like it now).