The news of Charles Sturt University’s [CSU] intention to change the name of its institution has been met with a mixed response from the community.
Since it was announced last Friday that CSU was considering changing its name, many past and present students have spoken out against the proposal.
The proposed change of name has been suggested by CSU as a way of modernising the institution’s visual identity to stand out in a tertiary environment.
But those in opposition are worried that changing the name of CSU [which has stood since 1989] could completely transform the way the institution is viewed in the wider community.
Brigit Dossetto, who is about to commence her third year studying journalism at CSU’s Bathurst campus, says the rebrand would be detrimental for the learning institution.
“Almost 30 years of alumni have gone through the university under the CSU name, and I feel any change to that could ruin a lot of the history behind it,” Ms Dossetto said.
In response to the proposed name change, an online petition was launched by a collective of CSU alumni calling for 5000 signatures to oppose the decision.
In just four days, over 4000 people had signed the petition.
A final decision on the name change is expected by next month, and will be driven by feedback from the wider CSU community in the coming weeks.
Branding is often the first point of call that persuades an individual to consider its use and for Ms Dossetto, who resides in Melbourne, the CSU brand enticed her to attend the Bathurst campus.
“I came to CSU because I had heard and read about how well received the journalism course at Bathurst was,” she said.
“Changing the name could damage the reputation of the university, and it could impact enrollments.
“It’s a very well known regional university, and people come from everywhere to attend it.”
Changing the name could damage the reputation of the university, and it could impact enrollments
Ms Dossetto’s viewpoint is shared by former student Aleks Krajcer, who feels it would be a bit of a waste to throw away three decades of history.
“We’re trying to develop a history with CSU as an institution, and the best thing to do is let it stay the same,” Mr Krajcer said.
“What purpose is it going to serve if the intention behind the name change is to attract more students?”
CSU has seen some famous faces graduate from its institution over the years, notably in the field of journalism.
Notable graduates include Melissa Doyle [Sunday Night, Seven Network], Hamish Macdonald [The Project, Network Ten] and Samantha Armytage [Sunrise, Seven Network].
There has been a number of suggestions in regards to what CSU should be renamed if February’s decision lands in favour of those who are for the change.
CSU’s preferred option is Sturt University, although the institution has stated that it is subject to change depending on community feedback.
Another suggestion for the name is Wiradjuri University, which has received plenty of support from former NRL player and mental health advocate Joe Williams.
Brendon McLeod, who is currently working towards a masters in teaching English to speakers of other languages, is eager to see how CSU intends to justify their decision.
“The name change, while an interesting idea, would leave a huge number of people with degrees from an unrecognisable, non-existent university,” Mr McLeod said.
“I’m in favour of keeping the name because I will [soon] have three degrees from there, but if the ideological reasoning behind the name change has been well thought out, then i’m willing to listen.”
Mr McLeod also holds bachelor degrees in liberal studies and arts [honours].
The decision to change the name is part of CSU’s broader strategy to improve the institution’s courses, student experience, community engagement, communication and support services.
“This refresh is not simply about changing a name or a logo,” CSU acting vice-chancellor Professor John Germov said in a statement.
“It is about ensuring we articulate clearly who we are and what we stand for to our students and the wider community.”
“Like all strategic initiatives, refreshing our identity does come at a cost- one that is budgeted and prepared for as part of the University’s larger strategic program.”
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