This summer, the dull purple of UCLU was replaced with the ghastly orange of Students Union UCL, also “not known as” SUUCL.
The use of the silly acronym is actively being discouraged by the mastermind of the rebrand, the Union’s Head of Communications, Alex McKee, who sabbatical officers have told The Cheese Grater has a Google Alert anytime someone uses the acronym SUUCL – Hi Alex!
After having spent 10 years with Imperial College Union, McKee arrived at UCL last year, immediately making a splash by forking out £20,000 on the six miniature screens in the Phineas building that play videos of the Union sabbatical officers walking around on repeat.
McKee justified the purchase by saying that he wanted the Union, and by extension sabbatical officers, to have more of a presence to their students.
Mark Crawford, Postgraduate Sabbatical Officer commented that he had been given a dressing down by McKee after making disparaging comments about the rebrand on his Twitter.
Speaking to The Cheese Grater, McKee commented that the Union was “in a bad state”, and that it sounded “like a trade union… not fun”.
McKee said that he believed students didn’t associate UCLU with the sports and societies on offer, but rather with delayed expenses forms and a plethora of excessive admin.
The Union’s new tagline “where fun happens” aims to counter that popular belief.
Union rebrands seem to be in vogue this season. Indeed, just this summer it was reported that Oxford University Students’ Union was to be rebranded as Oxford SU. Though their rebrand cost only £17,000, whereas UCL’s cost £68,000.
The rebrand for both UCL and Oxford appear, ostensibly, to be for the same things: a new website, new logo, focus groups and a new strategy (think hashtags: #lovemyunion.)
So why then, did UCL’s rebrand cost £68,000? It is not exactly clear, though McKee maintains that it was value for money and notes that Oxford Union is a “significantly smaller organisation”.
This article was published in CG Issue 58.