UMSL Marketing and Communications launches ‘Choose Your Word’ campaign

by | Jan 29, 2017

The new effort aims to get to the heart of the university experience – by defining the people who make it great.
UMSL Student, One Word

On the glass windows along the bridge in the Millennium Student Center, one student posts the word “serious” to describe the types of scholars who choose the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Over 100 campus community members paused to share their words on Jan. 23 and 24. (Photos by August Jennewein)

Hardworking. Creative. Inclusive. Driven.

“How would you describe the students, faculty and staff who choose to call the University of Missouri–St. Louis home?”

Choose Your Word, UMSL

Ambitious, unique social work students choose UMSL.

That’s the question UMSL’s marketing team has been putting forth to the campus community as of late.

At the Winter Expo, they set up a photo booth and had participants fill in their answers on speech-bubble whiteboards while posing for solo and group photos.

On Jan. 23 and 24, they hosted a table on the bridge of the Millennium Student Center, where students scrawled their answers onto colorful Post-It notes that then adorned the glass.

They’ve even made a lightning-fast online survey available. Open to faculty, staff and students, it’s just two questions long and comes complete with a chance to win one of six Visa gift cards.

There’s a catch to answering the seemingly simple question, of course. The marketing team wants responses to be brief – one word only, to be exact.


UMSL, positive

Optimistic, friendly, positive people choose UMSL.

“One thing we have heard over and over again is it’s the people here that make the student experience great,” explained Jackie Schlarman, UMSL’s director of marketing. “What we’re trying to get at is, why? What is it exactly that makes the people here the best? Defining that in only one word helps us really zero in.”

Such vital information will guide the marketing team as they aim to further invigorate the university’s brand both internally and externally.

“We’ve had remarkable success with our ‘I chose UMSL’ campaign,” Schlarman added. “Now we’re pushing that further. Who, collectively, chooses UMSL? The answer to that gets us to the heart of the university.”

The results from the survey and the events on campus will ultimately be used to inform a variety of future efforts. From billboards and digital campaigns to radio ads and TV spots – the possibilities are endless.

UMSL, business student

Development people – the kind who become innovative giants of business and industry – choose UMSL.

The buzz of energy created by the inquiry is growing, too. Nearly 200 individuals participated in the on-campus efforts alone.

The call for brevity had several students on the Bridge scratching their heads in contemplation – “Just one word? Really?”

Many paused to read the already-provided answers before giving their own. Competitive natures kicked in.

“I want to be original,” one social work major said. “Hey! ‘Original.’ Will that work?”

“Diverse,” a staff member offered. “That has to be here. We are definitely diverse. Has anyone already said that?”

As a matter of fact, several people had.

Anyone who would like to participate in the campaign should visit UMSL’s Choose Your Word website, take the survey, be entered for a chance to win one of the six gift cards and see photos from the campus events. Stay tuned to UMSL Daily for announcements about the survey results, as well as future marketing and branding efforts.

The UMSL Experience

Jami Hirsch

Jami Hirsch