bison rebranding

Rebranding Says Goodbye to Bison

bison rebranding
Campus entities such as Bison Connection, now known as NDSU One Stop, are undergoing a rebranding process to shift away from the bison name.

Bison have long been a symbol for North Dakota State, but vital campus entities are shifting away from the mascot.

In the last month, Bison Connection and the Bison Card Center have changed their names to NDSU One Stop and the NDSU Card Center, respectively. The changes have not stopped there—Bison Bucks are now Campus Cash and other titles may be on the slab to shift as well.

Card Center

In mid-April, NDSU announced the Bison Card Center and Bison Bucks would be changing titles to the NDSU Card Center and Campus Cash. Student ID cards would also get a makeover to a vertical design.

Wendy McCrory has overseen the card center since 1999, known then as the Bison Card Center. She said the name change is part of “branding change” that’s been in the works for a number of years.

“There was a push—not a push, a suggestion, a unification of things on campus to be inclusive. Maybe not everyone feels like they’re a bison,” McCrory said. “We have an athletic side of things. We have an academic side of things.”

Renaming the card the NDSU card “can give a more global picture of what the card can do,” McCrory said. “It’s everything NDSU.”

She added that while NDSU and its mascot can be interchangeable, she likes the change.

The change from Bison Bucks to Campus Cash that also allows her to market the service as Bison Bucks was “the best kept secret on campus,” McCrory said.

“Now I have an opportunity to do that because of the name change,” she added, saying new EMV chip cards “are slow,” debit cards can be lost or stolen and student ID cards are easy to replace.

The card center worked with University Relations in the name change, McCrory said, “and that’s been a very positive relationship. They make us look good.”

Bison Connection 

McCrory also managed Bison Connection, the service center whose name is now NDSU One Stop.

Bison Connection was “not the best name we could have picked to begin with,” she said, adding a committee selected the title.

“We thought it was clever, Bison Connection, Campus Connection. It wasn’t clever, it was confusing,” McCrory said.

One Stop director Viet Doan said the name change is meant to alleviate confusion with Campus Connection, the online service which students use to register for classes and manage campus finances.

“We constantly get emails, phone calls where people are confused,” Doan said.

Doan added the first conversations around the name change happened before he began in July, but “ramped up” last fall.

Despite Campus Connection sharing a word with Bison Connection, the latter underwent the name change as Campus Connection is an enterprise system used by all 11 North Dakota University System institutions, Doan said.

The change to One Stop helped to streamline with other universities using the one stop title, McCrory said.

University Relations helped with signage and the rebranding of One Stop, Doan said.

University Relations

In an email, Laura McDaniel, associate VP of university relations, said NDSU’s recent successes are part of this rebranding.

“Along with higher profile comes a greater responsibility to clearly and effectively protect our image and communicate our message,” she wrote. “The caliber of our communications must reflect the status we’ve attained as one of the country’s top research universities.”

She added President Dean Bresciani is also behind the rebranding, as his 2010 arrival “brought a more sophisticated understanding of the importance of a clear, consistent brand expression.”

“And he is, as you know, the No. 1 Bison fan in the country as well,” McDaniel said.

Despite multiple honors on the national level from football to dance to marksmanship, shifting away from NDSU’s mascot is not a divorce, McDaniel said.

“Professional and focused brand expression for the institution does not exclude emotional loyalty to the mascot, it is simply a best practice to consistently use the top institutional brand,” McDaniel said.

McCrory agreed, saying, “We had success and we’re all proud of that success … Everything under NDSU doesn’t have to be bison.”

McDaniel said it is University Relations’ job to share the stories of campus individuals’ success as well as the entire community.

“We also are very appreciative of the sense of community at NDSU and happy for any and all of our students and alumni who are proud to call themselves Bison,” she wrote.

“We can make these changes and we can evolve,” McCrory said. “As much as we are bison, we’ve very much North Dakota State.”

Shying away 

The University of North Dakota has also shied away from its mascot, the former Fighting Sioux moniker.

The NCAA banned the nickname and mascot due its perceived offensiveness to native tribes. Since last fall, the school has worn the Fighting Hawks’ mantle, yet a passionate crowd still clings to the banned Sioux moniker.

The controversy primarily began in 2005 with NCAA sanctions to schools with tribal mascots.

While NDSU has not banned or changed its mascot, its shift away from the popular bison is not necessarily done yet.

Many titles with bison names still exist on campus, from the office of admission’s bison guides to Residence Life’s #TheBisonLife hashtag.

That hashtag’s future may be in question, however.

“We haven’t had any discussions yet,” said Rian Nostrum, ResLife’s director. “We introduced it two years ago before NDSUtrue was a hashtag so we need to have internal dialogue on where we go with that portion of our social media.”

University Relations has promoted #NDSUtrue and #HelloYellowandGreen in the past year. Bison Pride Fridays will remain, NDSU spokeswoman Sadie Rudolph said.

Many student organizations have the mascot in their names, from Bison Robotics to Bison Information Network to Bison Ambassadors.

In fall 2012, a bronze bison statue was given to NDSU and installed at the south entrance to campus.


Leave a Reply