You don’t have to wear the University of Denver shield to start a riveting conversation, but it helps.
That’s because there are a million good reasons to wear the shield — and hence, plenty to talk about. In fact, the University of Denver shield, symbol of institutional pride and Pioneer spirit, is turning up all over town, all around the nation and all across the globe. In-the-know Pioneers are wearing shield pins on their business wear and sporting shield images on their T-shirts. Even their laptops are decked out in shield stickers.
The shield is celebrated in a new two-minute, spirit-building video, “We Are Denver: We Wear the Shield.” Created to showcase school pride and spirit, as well as raise awareness about the University’s new logo, the video features testimonials from students, alumni, staff, faculty and administrators about why they wear the shield. A related website —www.du.edu/explore/shield — collects additional stories from others who don the shield with pride. Plans call for updates to the video, so these testimonials are expected to provide fodder for future shield videos.
The video bottles the pride and spirit that members of the community feel about the University. It also shows the many ways in which they have made the shield their own and have blended it into their daily existence:
• “The shield reminds me to explore everything around me,” says student Mawukle Yebuah.
• “The shield represents each student’s unique journey,” says Lynn Gangone, dean of the Colorado Women’s College at the University of Denver.
• And two alumni see the shield as a symbol of their day-to-day experiences: “I like the shield because it takes me back to some great classroom experiences,” notes one. “With professors who cared about my future,” adds the other.
“We Are Denver: We Wear the Shield” debuted at Discoveries week, the University’s orientation program for first-year and transfer students. In the coming year, the video will screen at a wide range of events, including some hockey and basketball games, employee orientation sessions, student-recruitment programs and various sesquicentennial celebrations.
The shield in question is the centerpiece of the University’s new logo, introduced in late summer 2012 and rolled out on signs, stationery, apparel and marketing materials over the last year.
The shield and logo grew out of an extensive research and design process that enlisted the University’s many stakeholders: alumni from different generations, students, prospective students, parents, University staff and faculty, and the many employers who rely on the institution for a diverse talent pool.
Research conducted in 2011–12 about the University’s identity — and its previous logo — revealed that the institution stands to benefit from brand clarification. The data revealed that the University’s name recognition was high, but that a significant number of people didn’t know much about the institution.
The shield logo addresses that knowledge gap in several ways. Its shape and the reference to the University’s longevity remind people that the institution is rooted in tradition and that it has been in operation since 1864. The full-color version uses the University’s traditional and beloved crimson. And the imagery — a blend of mountains and towers — roots the school in its distinctive landscape.
With the shield video in circulation and the supporting website launched and running, community members are already sharing their pride and school spirit. Perhaps student Katrina Yoshida says it best: “For me, DU school spirit encompasses so much. It is going to Flo’s Underground to hear some of my fellow students perform; it is wearing DU colors with pride; it is going to hockey games and cheering the loudest. It is finding friends for a lifetime. It is going to different student organization events. It is having Winter Carnival more accessible so more people can participate. It is even painting my nails crimson with gold flakes. DU school spirit to me means a thriving community.”