There’s little question that St. Cloud State is losing a recruiting war with the University of North Dakota. A few years ago, St. Cloud State hired Earthbound Media Group to rebrand SCSU. EMG’s idea of rebranding was pretty much a failure on multiple fronts.

First, EMG created a pathetic slogan for billboards. That slogan, literally, was “Think. Do. Make a Difference.” It’s stunning to think that media professionals would think that young people would be attracted to a university with that wimpy of a slogan.

Unfortunately, that’s just the PR side of things. What’s worse is that, according to records I obtained through a Minnesota Data Practices Act request, SCSU paid EMG over $400,000 for their work.

Let’s compare those pathetic attempts with UND’s recruiting efforts. First, look at where they’re recruiting:

They’re recruiting students in the Twin Cities and in Brainerd. That means they’re recruiting in SCSU’s back yard. What’s alarming is that UND didn’t start this public recruitment drive in central Minnesota until SCSU announced that they were shutting down the Aviation program. It isn’t accidental that this is one of their biggest billboards:

It’s clear that UND didn’t hire EMG to put together that billboard. It’s apparent because UND’s billboard will get potential students’ attention and cause them to think about enrolling at UND.

Here’s the thing that should jump off the page for everyone. UND’s billboards are appealing because they’re energetic and challenging. SCSU’s billboards are lifeless and defensive. UND’s billboards say ‘Check us out’ while SCSU’s billboards say ‘Hi. We exist. Please notice us.’

SCSU isn’t losing the recruiting war with UND just because of these billboards. They’re losing, too, because UND has a drone program, which is catching young people’s attention. SCSU could’ve had a drone program within the Aviation program, too. That’s if they still had an aviation program.

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3 Responses to “SCSU losing recruiting war with UND”

  • Patrick-M says:

    Very well said Gary. and they could have had a jewel of a STEM classroom with the Learning Jet now at St. Paul. Oh well I guess SCSU’s STEM mission designation was “just words”.

  • Overseas student says:

    The argument makes a lot of sense. It is a shame that we do not have such programs at SCSU. I am a graduate of SCSU and I would have loved to continue my graduate studies in Aviation, at an affordable state university. UND is an expensive school and an organization that does not have the same type of instructors as SCSU who are there for you after hours to help you. It felt like a Family at SCSU. As a graduate I need closure. This has been going on since 2010 when the unreasnable decision has been taken to close the program. Its about time we see some action, before more takes place. I feel like closing a program at SCSU is a matter of personal preferance. It is a school for the tax payers, so they should have a say in what goes on. We work hard and we have a say where our money goes to.

  • Crimson Trace says:

    At least one prominent UND billboard on this post can be seen on I-94 by the Monticello exit. It says a lot more than SCSU’s “we exist” billboard. I am hearing that this fall’s enrollments will be down again for a 5th straight year. In looking at the empty ISELF building, it is becoming clear that it is more important for President Potter and chancellor Rosenstone to “look good” by not publicly admitting it was a mistake to close aviation even if that means keeping ISELF empty.

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