Branding and beautifying

By Eric Fung

Campus looking a bit drab? University lacking a certain panache? The University of Calgary Students’ Union, among others, have a solution.

In early October, External Commissioner David Rassin had the idea of erecting flags displaying the University of Calgary crest along University Drive, similar to what has been done at numerous other universities.

"This year, the SU has talked a lot about ‘branding,’" Rassin explained. "This project is simply a way of implementing that."

Rassin cited two aims of the project. First, it’s a means of improving the university and surrounding area in a simple way. Secondly, it gets the university, the SU and the city working together in a bridge-building project.

Rassin credits three people specifically for the project’s success: City of Calgary Alderman Dale Hodges, U of C President Harvey Weingarten and Director of External Relations Stu Reid.

"The idea came up in Jerusalem on an industrialized, drab desert road," Rassin said. "It was plain except for these little Israeli flags. It was elegant and they went off into the horizon. They looked like a drumroll going into the city, making a striking, beautiful scene."

Funding for the flag project will come from a number of sources, none of which is the SU. Rassin is waiting for specific price quotes for the flags, and is confident that certain costs will be reduced because of the people involved, though he is reluctant to discuss details.

"The university has money marked for this sort of thing," he explained. "Part of the money will be from External Relations, part of it will be from other sources."

Rassin has been in a number of consultations since early October, and the project is currently in the fingers-crossed stage. It has progressed in record time, however, and he estimates that flags will go up in Spring 2002.

"Depending on the success of this stage, we will follow up with flags on 32nd Avenue and the walkway from the university to the LRT station," he speculated.

Rassin emphasized the importance and impact of the cooperative effort put into the "flagship project."

"People have been very supportive," he added. "We’re trying to bring people together and get things done. The real credit goes to the three people carrying this off in an unprecedented way."

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