Regents waste $5,000 on ‘SDPURC’

Editoral Board

Editoral Board

At issue:South Dakota Board of Regents to rename USDSU “SDPURC” after turning down marketing firm suggestions.

Our view:SDPURC will eventually catch on, but $5,000 was wasted in the search for a new name.

South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center. Yes, it’s a mouthful. But shorten it to SDPURC, and you may not even have the slightest idea what it means.

SDPURC was the name the South Dakota Board of Regents chose to replace USDSU in October. The BOR claims USDSU was an insider term and it wouldn’t reflect the Sioux Falls center’s expansions to include classes from Northern State University, Black Hills State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. They decided to hire Lawrence and Schiller to dream up an innovative, yet catchy, title.

Five thousand dollars later, the Sioux Falls-based marketing firm used its talent and came up with some ideas. What were they? No one will say.

The BOR decided it would take the renaming in to its own hands, and that is where SDPURC was born. In other words, the state just wasted $5,000 to hire a marketing firm to do what is does best, yet declined any of its educated suggestions. In terms of high education budgets, $5,000 is pennies. But the state could have found better, and more useful, ways to use that money.

Although catchy, USDSU is becoming an outdated term. The center’s enrollment continues to climb, and it only makes sense to add more classes and allow the other state universities to tap into the Sioux Falls market. A new name is needed because they can’t just call it USDSUNSUBHSUSDM&T.

Hiring Lawrence and Schiller was a good idea. They are professionals, and they could have found a perfectly nice title for the center. Yet, the BOR decided it would become a marketing firm and chose a different title.

Was the BOR arrogant to pick their own mouthful of a name? Or did Lawrence and Schiller fail to create titles that were good enough? No one knows because school officials have declined to release those names, and the firm refuses to comment.

OK, so SDPURC isn’t that bad. It will eventually catch on and become part of the public’s everyday vocabulary. But it would have been a much better name if $5,000 wasn’t wasted on names not good enough for the BOR.