Walking into the University Bookstore, one may expect to find a simple, school spirited garment. Instead they find a head-splitting multitude of clashing logos, mascots, school names and designs. Looking for a school-representing T-shirt in there is like digging through the sales pile at Ross. This is only a symptom of the identity crisis that has plagued Cal State Long Beach for the last 70 years.
Let’s face it Cal State University Long Beach has a problem. Or maybe Long Beach State University has a problem…or the Beach?
Sorry, but who are we? And who is our mascot? Are we a pyramid or a 49er?
It’s fairly obvious at this point that the bureaucratic powers that be have single handedly created this identity crisis by refusing to pull the trigger on creating a cohesive branding package that students and alumni can be proud of.
Despite having so many logos affiliated with the university, administration continues to add onto the already extensive portfolio. Most recently, this has become apparent in the massive “GO BE????CH” letters at the West Campus Turnaround, replacing the classic “California State University Long Beach” installation and requiring infrequent cosmetic maintenance.
We have too many mascots, too many logos and two too many official names for the university. It’s time for someone to put their foot down and make a decision; however, it seems that administration is too afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes. As the saying goes, sh*t or get off the pot.
We at the Daily 49er Editorial Board believe that the university should commit to a full rebranding and align with LBSU athletics as Long Beach State.
Despite the newly showcased “GO BE????CH” campaign, administration still maintains that there will be no rebranding. According to Terri Carbaugh, associate vice president of public affairs, the university has no plans to drop “CSU” from the name or phase out any of the existing logos.
“We have a wealth of logos from which people can choose based upon their personal preference and taste,” Carbaugh said in an email.
While this may seem like a fair compromise, it only adds to our cluttered identity. One only has to walk around campus to find the trail of mascots and logos the school has gone through.
The university’s inability to settle on an identity is not a new problem, but one that stretches back to the school’s inception. According to an article by JJ Fiddler of the Press Telegram, CSULB alumni John Fylpaa has three degrees with three different names from this school.
Since the university opened in 1949, four name changes have occured before landing on a decision to keep two names. Just look at the fact that the school changed its name after one year from Los Angeles-Orange County State College to Long Beach State College.
The identity crisis doesn’t only cause problems for the main campus, but also highlights a divide between the university and the athletics department.
When CSULB changed its name in 1972, the athletics department chose to continue using LBSU in competition. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the school’s baseball team has had its own “unofficial” name as the Dirtbags since 1989.
(If this is confusing for you, imagine the difficulty of reporting on the school and its teams while keeping these names straight.)
Although the campus hasn’t confirmed the switch in name, administration seems to be leaning toward Long Beach State, evident by the banners on the blue fences near campus construction.
The fact of the matter is, this isn’t a life-or-death situation. There are plenty of issues far more pressing than our university identity. However, the fact still remains: the buffet of brands and logos reads less like a unified college, and more like a hot mess.