Your SUSU, My SUSU, Who's SUSU???

SUSU re-branding – really necessary?

As the dust settles after Fresher’s fortnight it is finally possible to look at SUSU’s expensive re-branding project which has taken place over the summer.

I would be the first to admit that prior to the summer break the Union had started to look a bit tired, with some battered pool tables and a foyer that looked as though it had been chucked together by a student with a university deadline and they’d only remembered when they got in from Jesters at 2am.

It does look very swish and modern

The new foyer actually looks very spectacular, the glass rooms, new chairs and large video wall look modern and vibrant, exactly the look the university demands. As well as some snappy signs adorning the concourse all looks good. Be that as it may, wander behind the facade and much of the union is unchanged. Large areas of the corridor look like they haven’t even seen a coat of paint in a few years let alone an expensive revamp!!!

However, of potentially more worrying concern isn’t the physical redecoration. Now I don’t know about you but in my four years at university I have never had an issue at all with any of the names used. SUSU, Stag’s Head, SUSU Shop and Boiler House are all names which anyone within the university could instantly recognise and identify.

Is it really THAT hard to understand?

Charlotte Woods (2010/2011 Communications Sabb) felt that these weren’t identifiable enough and needed changing, along with the SUSU logo as ‘people didn’t realise it spelt SUSU….’ Unfortunately rather than simply making the brand identifiable with the union it was decided to completely change the brand, rather than the product.

On her blog she said that students were consulted. I don’t remember said consultation. Making a decision based on the opinion of 700 students out of 25000 is not a fair view when it is our money which is being spent, especially as it seems the results said nothing about there being a NEED for a re-brand, just that people don’t interact like they should.

The new logo looks like something that was created in about half an hour on clip art. The old logo may have been a little difficult to identify but at least it was unique and quirky. This logo looks like any logo for any small business anywhere in the world, which I feel is a disappointment for a university that prides itself at being the top of its game for so many degree areas as well as horrifically clichéd.

And this is better because?

Nonetheless the most infuriating area is that of the names. Our union is no longer just plain simple SUSU, it is now Your SUSU, or is that my SUSU? It’s hard to get the context right when I’m a member as well! Why the need to change the name of the union – no-one is ever going to refer to it as anything other then SUSU!!!

Possibly more upsetting is the renaming of the JCR Bars. Names universally recognised such as Boiler house, Glen Bar and Connaught Bar are gone to the ether, replaced by bland boring names such as Bar Monte. This in turn takes away so much of the uniqueness and history that existed in the Halls. Changing the names just adds to the appearance that the SUSU is only bothered about skin deep appearances and has changed the names of bars for no apparent reason other than to make the package as a whole look more professional and corporate, a change which wasn’t required in the least.

Also unrequired was the naming of the central SUSU building as ‘The Union’, because obviously referring to it as SUSU is no longer enough, and the Stags Head now being ‘The Stags’. Although it is the common term used to refer to the pub, in my eyes it doesn’t quite work!!!!

I will fully admit that the Student Union needed a redecorate; it was starting to look tired and faded. The new work is fantastic and praise must be duly given to those who designed and commissioned the work. Nonetheless the money spent on the re-branding, the logos and names of areas around the site, was a pointless and unnecessary expense.

In a time when fees are about to rise to £9000 a year and rent and bills are rising for students surely there are many many ways in which the money could have been better spent then on what seems to be a vanity project for several of the previous Sabbs, because I can see no reason why anything has changed with respect to the reasons for the attempted re-brand other than some fancy signs and general confusion.