Students share athletics visions for 2024
By IUPUI Today
February 08, 2023
IUPUI students care about the strong connection between the campus community and the city of Indianapolis.
“I’m from Indianapolis; I was born here,” said Jonathan Onuorah, a sophomore majoring in accounting. “I love being in the city. My mom also went to IUPUI, and I’ve always associated this campus with the city in general.”
Onuorah shared those thoughts during the IU Indianapolis Athletics Branding Sprint, a 24-hour challenge for students to brainstorm what they want the athletics experience to look, sound and feel like after IUPUI transitions to IU Indianapolis.
David Pierce, director of the Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI and a member of the Vision 2024 Athletics task force, organized the sprint in partnership with the Student Innovation Center and Institute for Engaged Learning.
“One of the components of the task force is messaging and branding for the future IU Indianapolis athletics department,” Pierce said. “We saw a really timely and unique opportunity to give students an engaged learning experience on campus, to let them be creative and have their voice heard in the process of creating a visual identity for athletics starting in 2024.”
The event began Jan. 27 in the National Institute for Fitness and Sport auditorium. Students snacked on complimentary pizza while organizers gave an overview of the project and goals, which included developing logos, uniforms and a new fight song, while keeping in mind that the Jaguar mascot and moniker will remain.
That was followed by a panel discussion with local marketing professionals and a tour of IUPUI athletics venues, where students noted court and field designs, signs and other visual elements that will need to be rebranded.
After splitting up into interdisciplinary groups of three to four students, the teams hunkered down in focus rooms in the Natatorium to research, share ideas and build their presentations.
“I have never experienced something where they reach out to the students or the audience to have a say in a rebrand,” said Ethan Schwake, a junior majoring in business management. “I think it’s a really cool opportunity for both the students and the school to get a different perspective.”
Students were also excited about the learning opportunity.
“I’m currently working for a small business where we develop branding for student athletes across the U.S., and I feel like this will give me a fresh look at how I do my job,” said Ashley Campbell, a junior majoring in computer graphics technology.
Groups were allowed to work in the Natatorium through 9 p.m. They returned Jan. 28 to finish up before presenting their concepts at 11:30 a.m.
Intertwining the campus and the city were common themes in the final presentations.
Metros as a secondary nickname, making the Indianapolis skyline more prominent in venue markings and on apparel, painting Jaguar murals along the downtown canal and creating outreach campaigns with the hashtag #JagsInTheCity.Ideas included bringing back the
The concepts will be shared with the Vision 2024 Athletics task force, as well as other stakeholders involved in realignment planning.
In addition to giving students a voice in the rebranding process, their participation in the sprint can also help them build their professional portfolios and network.
“I typically follow up with whoever the industry partner is, and we have a debriefing meeting about what ideas are workable,” Pierce said. “Then going forward, if there’s an opportunity for an internship, entry-level job or whatever the case may be, we try to make those connections for the students.”
Pierce said that’s what the event, and the campus, is ultimately all about.
“We work to create unique and valuable experiences for students, which to me is what differentiates an IUPUI education from other places,” he said. “I felt if we’re going to create a new brand, we should do it the IUPUI way, which is through engaged learning.”