President Devorah Lieberman announced via email recently that Fridays at the University of La Verne will now be Leo Pride Fridays. And it seems this is another one of the University’s questionable marketing schemes.
Leo Pride Fridays is a new tradition for which faculty, staff and students are encouraged to wear University apparel on Fridays.
Lieberman even encourages participants to post a picture on social media, using the hashtag #LeoPride.
The new campaign is just one of a seemingly endless stream of embarrassing marketing ploys La Verne has created.
It began with billboards featuring University alumni, which then became billboards featuring the University’s partnership with Behr Paint.
Now the University is encouraging students to market the school with Leo Pride Fridays. The concept is reminiscent of high school spirit days. Leo Pride Fridays would be appropriate for a football game or a specific University event for that matter, but designating a specific day to wear Leo attire “just because” is silly.
Besides, La Verne students tend to wear school attire throughout the week. On any given day, many students here wear a La Verne sweatshirt, t-shirt, sweatpants or a leopard spotted something. Students at the University represent the school on any given day just fine.
Friday is also the worst day to proclaim a school spirit day. La Verne is primarily a commuter school, and many students don’t register for Friday classes so Friday tends to be a low-key day, without too much activity on campus.
Prospective students come to tour the campus on Fridays, however, so perhaps Leo Pride Fridays is an attempt to make La Verne seem appealing to them.
It is the president’s job, along with other staff, to develop new and innovative marketing plans and substantive programming, so that the University may keep expanding and attracting new students.
But Leo Pride Fridays will not be a selling point for prospective students. And from the perspective of current students – who were prospective students not too long ago – this campaign is ridiculous. If the University really wants to appeal to prospective students, staging school spirit is not the answer.
Instead, it should allow current and incoming students to continue interacting with one another during programs like Spotlight Weekend. It should also allow current students to give real and honest testimony about their college experience.