Pride is organic

The University tries to foster school spirit in its latest marketing scheme.

Editorial board

From #UMNproud to #LightUMN and, most recently, #LegendaryU, different departments at the University of Minnesota are using hashtags on Twitter to promote the University’s research and build pride and support.

These hashtags have encouraged students, staff and alumni to share their stories on social media.

#LightUMN is part of the University’s $2.5 million “Driven to Discover” campaign, which is funded mostly by the University of Minnesota Foundation. The campaign emphasizes how the University, and especially its research, benefits the state, nation and the world.

#UMNproud started gaining traction sometime last year and is used to highlight other University accomplishments.

While it’s interesting that the University is reaching out to students, alumni and the state via social media, it’s important to remember that pride doesn’t come from a hashtag or a marketing campaign. Taking pride in the University comes from organic experiences. It comes from feeling like you’ve made a contribution here and that the University has helped you in return. Each student, staff or faculty member has a different reason to take pride in the University. It’s great that people are sharing those stories, but let’s not forget the real reason the University needs us to share: the bottom line.

Telling these stories helps the University share its message that it’s invaluable to the state so it can garner more state-financial support and additional business partnerships.

While sharing your positive University experiences seems innocuous enough, remember that your stories are its propaganda.