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CLARITY SOUGHT IN NEW UNIVERSITY BRANDING

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The University at Albany “UA” acronym is being left behind by the Student Association this semester to avoid confusion with brands under the same name.

Working with the communications and marketing department, the SA is focused on pushing student groups to replace “UA” with “UAlbany” in their names.

SA President Felix Abreu said that “UA” branding is more likely to be mistaken with other brands such as the University of Arizona or University of Alabama.

“[UA] is something that has been used in the University, but we want to make sure that it is more specific towards us,” said Abreu.

SA items, such as t-shirts with “UA” branding, will be discontinued this academic year.

Earlier last month, Abreu and Joey Fambrini, SA director of programming, met with the communications and marketing department to discuss pushing brand consistency on student groups. The leadership agreed to share graphics that include University trademarked branding with the office before going to print.

Fambrini could not be reached for comment.

“It is important that the University have graphic and identity standards in place in order to have a strong, consistent brand identity in today’s marketplace,” said Jennifer Carron, director of marketing services. “We are all one University, and having a strong and consistent brand identity is key to standing out, being noticed and being remembered.”

Last year, efforts to switch branding to “UAlbany” lead by the communications and marketing department impacted student groups such as the UAlbany Equestrian Team. The club team previously used a “ua_riding@yahoo.com“ email address until they were asked to change their account to include “UAlbany.”

“It was kind of annoying at first because people were used to people emailing our other account, but it’s fine now,” said Amber Lindner, president of the UAlbany Equestrian Team.

In the past, branding efforts to move away from “UA” were denied by student groups. Two years ago, Albany Student Television declined to change the name of shows such as “UA Overtime” and “UA Cribs” despite efforts by the marketing and communications department.

Brand consistency efforts have recently stretched beyond student groups. The recent Blackboard system update by ITS in August pushed brand consistency in the new theme in coordination with the communications and marketing department.

In 2003, the department released a graphic identity guide in an effort to promote consistent branding. Names such as “UA” and “University of Albany” were all from prohibited from media usage under the guide.

Among the names prohibited in the guide were “SUNYA” and “SUNY Albany.” With the uptown campus located nearly four miles away from SUNY headquarters, the two locations have commonly been mistaken according the communications and marketing department.

“To certain degree, I think the geography of our situation is confusing,” said Karl Luntta, director of media relations.

Luntta said he frequently receives calls from local media mistakenly looking to contact SUNY headquarters. Despite the confusion with SUNY, Luntta has noticed names like “Albany State” and “SUNYA” being referenced less to the University over time.

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Tyler A. McNeil is the current managing editor for the Albany Student Press. The Capital Region native previously served as managing editor for The Hudsonian, and as an intern for the Times Union and Capital Tonight.

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