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BSU Banners Unify Campus Look, Message

One of the banners recently installed along Birchmont Drive

Jordan Shearer | Staff Writer | 10-19-2011

One of the new additions to campus this semester are the BSU street banners that have been constructed along the eastern side of Birchmont Drive. There are ten of them that stretch from the far end of the Bangsberg Hall parking lot to the American Indian Resource Center.  According to the Director of Communications and Marketing, Rose Jones, the banners are part of an effort to give a “unified message” and a “unified look” to the campus as well as to “pull the campus together visually.” It was this same department that was given the task of designing them.
When asked how long the plan for the banners had been around, Jones said the idea was brought up for a number of years.  The fact that it has materialized now is merely a part of the progression to build and strengthen the BSU image.  Although this seemed to suggest that there could be more such banners on other locations throughout campus, Jones confirmed that there are no plans for additional ones.
The cost for the banners came to $26,439.  The Vice President for Finance and Administration, Bill Maki, said that the funds for the banners were taken out of the budget for repair and betterment.  Some have speculated about whether or not the banners are a part of a fundraising goal for the university.  However, the banners are not directly connected to any such goals. Nonetheless, the banners will hopefully effect fundraising in an indirect way.
Maki also stated that the construction and use of the banners is current with what other college campuses have been doing all around the country.  Similar to Jones, he commented on how the banners have been raised in hopes of bringing “a sense of definition” to the school as well as “extending the university’s brand.”
Although the university did have to consult the city before it began construction, the city was very cooperative with the school’s plans. They thought the banners would go well with other projects in the neighborhood. In regards to a permit required for construction, Andrew Mack with the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board (GBAJPB) said the process required no permit. The university merely needed authorization, which it received from both the GBAJPB and the city itself at a joint meeting. Mack’s office was first contacted about the idea in the middle of July.

However, in spite of the fact that there are many optimistic opinions about the banners, many of the students think they are unnecessary. For example, Ellie Mausbach, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said that the cost is “really a waste.” She went on to say that even though the price is not huge in contrast to the cuts, it is still an unnecessary expense. Nick Judkins, a senior majoring in business administration, also commented on the banners. He admitted they are a “nice touch” but that they are definitely not worth the ridiculous expense. Judkins further mentioned that the cost probably could have been reduced if the banners were hung on the light poles instead of having brand new poles put in.