SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The University rolled out a new logo on Thursday with plenty of balloons, free T-shirts and free food - just what you want when you are trying to reshape the image of an organization.
Standing in the audience, I was pretty sure that the new logo would incorporate the Guy West Bridge, a scale version of the Golden Gate Bridge linking campus to the north side of the American River. If the logo did feature the bridge, it would say that the people in charge of this makeover effort were doomed to failure.
But damn, they came up with something that's appealing, recognizable, and even in the rollout ceremonies, showed more savvy about how the world works than the previous administration ever demonstrated.
Many of my colleagues at the university immediately condemned the promotional efforts (which cost around $50,000, including the $31,000 for the actual graphic design work). They said it wasteful to spend the money, accused the university of having less leadership skills than George W. and huffed around campus for the rest of the day spreading gloom.
And under our previous university administration, I would have been saying the same things while I accused and huffed as loudly and publicly as I could.
So it's with some trepidation that I risk my reputation as a critic of anything administrative to say:
I like the new logo. And I think the promotional (and image-changing efforts) are long overdue.
The knee-jerk reactions come pretty easily to me, too, and I've struggled with this new guy in the president's office, not to give him a chance, but to give his ideas a chance. It's easy to get confused and accept ideas only from people you like and dismiss any ideas from people you think are turkeys.
So far, our president had a some bad ideas and some good ideas - but at least he has ideas and wants to move the campus from 1985 to 2005. When the last prez left, I woke up and felt like Rip Van Winkle - except I hadn't just slept peacefully along the Zuider Zee, I had nightmares for the last five years of his tenure.
In the case of this logo/makeover/promotion, I've decided that the relatively small dollars involved (when considering the entire university budget) are likely to bring in money (just in T-shirt and logowear sales at the bookstore alone). And if the student excitement demonstrated Thursday is any indication, the image change has already had a leavening effect, which could spread.
And in my case, specifically?
Well, I got a free T-shirt at the rollout, a sticker for my car window and I feel good about the direction things seem to be going.
Sometimes I'm easy. Not often, but sometimes.