VSCS board ponders new name

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges Sophie Zdatny announced in an email that the board of trustees would be voting on whether to approve “Vermont State University” as the name for the newly consolidated entity scheduled to launch in 2023.
The name was put forth by VisionPoint Marketing, a firm hired out of Pennsylvania to assist the VSCS in coming to a decision for the new institution’s name and branding identity. The company has been working since June to gather data with which to base its decision and advance this recommendation.
“Their research provided key insights, including how essential ‘Vermont’ is to our identity, the importance of the word ‘University’ to communicate the prestige, quality, and levels of education provided by the unified institution,” said Zdatny in her email.
Research efforts included “31 small group listening sessions with… community members across the VSCS, a brand perception study with over 3,000 respondents, a targeted brand workshop with 25 participants from the three institutions, and deep-dive research into each institution,” Zdatny’s email said.
The details of VisionPoint’s recommendation are included in a PowerPoint available on the VSC transformation page. The slideshow includes data from their studies which began in June of this year after they were hired with transformation funds from the State Legislature.
According to the slideshow, an institution with “Vermont” in its name was the first choice among state residents, alumni, faculty, staff and students. The name also ties in with the tagline “Vermont is our campus” which is likely to be utilized in further branding moving forward.
“Because Vermont State University uses a nationally established and well-recognized naming convention, we have an incredible opportunity to shape the brand and identity of the university,” Zdatny said in her email.
The decision is not final, and the board will be hearing public comments during a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. before they vote whether to accept the recommendation. The meeting requires that attendees sign up to speak at the meeting, and a link to do so is on the VSC transformation page.
The chancellor’s office will also accept written public comments through a form on the VSC website. Students will have until the board votes on the new name at their Sept. 29 meeting to submit their comments.