Dragon Pride defined as more than athletics

BY MAGGIE OLSON
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Maggie Olson

Maggie Olson

When MSUM re-branded a few years ago to use separate logos for academics and athletics, I thought it seemed like a waste of money.

In the Sept. 8, 2011 issue of The Advocate, Jeremy Johnson, the interim marketing director, was quoted as saying, “with athletics being seen as our biggest weakness across all audiences, it was a pretty clear-cut indication we should be considering separating the two logos and the two identities.”

Claims that the separate logos would “establish a new visual identity” and help us remain competitive with other regional universities who were using separate logos didn’t sound to me like tangible, justifiable reasons for spending so much money.

But as the re-branding happened across campus, my skepticism faded. I found the new academic logo helped me feel a stronger sense of campus identity. Sure, the “flame of knowledge” motif was a little cheesy, but I felt like it successfully symbolized my place and purpose at this university.

I’ve always thought the Dragon logo was cool. My favorite sweatshirt has the Dragon logo on it, but I am not an athletically oriented person.

I’d like to emphasize this point:  I don’t hate sports. I think sports are important culturally and have a place in a university setting. But when the Dragon logo became exclusively for athletics, I felt divorced of a “Dragon” identity.

Instead, I felt a greater sense of academic purpose. I became more focused on bringing distinction to our school through academic engagement, such as presenting at conferences.

Today the campus culture is changing. There is a concerted effort to encourage “Dragon Pride,” but I’m unsure what Dragon Pride is supposed to be.

If Dragon Pride is supposed to be athletic-based, then encouraging all students to identify as “Dragons” excludes students like me. MSUM athletics has seen increased rates of success since 2011, and the accomplishments that have been made should be recognized as such. There’s nothing wrong with drumming up support for our teams.

However, I feel the current Dragon Pride marketing focuses on athletic endeavors, regardless of student interest or participation.

If Dragon Pride is supposed to be about a unified campus identity, then it seems counterproductive to the very recent and very expensive re-branding.

If Dragon Pride is not supposed to be exclusively athletic, then one could exhibit Dragon Pride by attending orchestra concerts, planetarium shows and art exhibitions, instead of just athletic events. That’s not the message I feel like I’m receiving from the Dragon Pride movement.

I’m not against Dragon Pride. I’m just concerned that the concept of Dragon Pride is not as inclusive as it could be.

I believe there is a better rallying point from which to create a unified campus identity; one which doesn’t exclude any student based on their interests.

The one thing all Dragons have in common is that we’re students. Student musicians, student lab researchers and student athletes are all students, first and foremost, no matter what their other affiliations might be.

It’s a great day to be a student at MSUM.

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