New guidelines force club logo changes

Three club leaders were met with surprise when they opened their email inboxes. On Feb. 1, club leaders found out that the university had implemented new guidelines for the use of spirit marks such as the cougar head logo.

Raj Lamichhane, Stefani Mammenga, Scott Thompson and other club leaders found they must change their club name or logo by Mar. 20 to be compliant with new branding regulations of Washington State University.

At WSU Vancouver a wide variety of student groups provide an opportunity for individuals to connect with others based on similar interests. One of the ways that students can do this is through clubs, also known as registered student organizations.

According to the RSO Handbook, student organizations at WSU are intended to complement the academic mission of the university and enhance the educational experience for students. Pullman’s Office of Marketing and Communication recently released new branding regulations.

“A club has the ability to show affiliation with WSU Vancouver in its official club name. However, it must identify the club prior to the university,” the memo said. It continued by outlining new regulations for club logos. “A club may use the university spirit marks (cougar head, Butch, etc.)… But [the spirit marks] may not be altered in their shape, pattern and design. In order to be in compliance the cougar head must be presented in crimson, especially for online use. For print purposes the cougar head my be black, reversed or gray.”

Club members, leaders and advisors responded to the new guidelines with initial shock and disappointment. Although the RSO Handbook mentions the name policy for clubs, most of the controversy stems from the club logo clarifications. Some of the clubs that were affected by the logo changes include the International Student Association, led by Lamichhane; the Cougar Pride Club, led by Mammenga; and Veterans Club and Associated Students, led by Thompson.

After receiving the guidelines, the Veterans Club and Associated Students underwent a process of voting on potential new designs. “I’d say the overall process has been inconvenient, but not completely unreasonable,” Thompson said. “Overall club members did not express too much concern with the regulations, just mild confusion and some slight resistance.”

Some of the clubs relied upon the creativity of motivated WSU Vancouver students to create potential new logo designs. Others are still working to bring their logos into compliance.

“When I heard the policy, I started to work on it, and we have a new logo now,” Lamichane said. “It took me a while to find the perfect person for the logo work. It’s time consuming and needs more creative work because the logo reflects the club’s values and attracts members.”

The changes were met with concern by some clubs, however. Some leaders said that although the regulations may seem innocuous, changing the logo may inadvertently change the club itself.

“Our club’s rainbow cougar head logo had become what I saw as a very iconic and fitting symbol of LGBTQ-inclusivity on campus,” Mammenga said. “But I knew our club would be able to design a new one that was just as meaningful.”

Editor’s note: the VanCougar’s logo is also in need of changing to comply with new regulations. The newspaper is looking for student submissions for a new logo. Students can submit a logo design for an opportunity to win a $40 gift card to the Bookie. All students can participate, and may submit up to three designs. Submissions are accepted via social media with the tag #VanCougLogo, at bit.ly/vancouglogo or by email to vancougso@wsu.edu. Submissions will close at midnight on March 10, and the winner will be announced on March 20.

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