UI student leaders discuss rebranding


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The governing body of the University of Iowa graduate and professional students has struggled for years to fight questions over who it is and what it does, members of the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional students said.

The group’ s delegates voted unanimously Tuesday to start the process to change the name, something council President Ben Gillig said he hopes will clear up any misunderstandings and rebrand what “student government” means at the University of Iowa.

Gillig addressed the government with concerns the current name inaccurately represents the business and goals of the group.

“Executive Council doesn’t convey the fact that it’s a student government,” he said. “This will go a long way in helping to develop the graduate and professional student voice in really important campus discussions.”

The proposed new name — Graduate and Professional Student Government — would go into effect after this academic year. At that time, the president would begin discussions with campus authorities to adjust the group’s branding on campus.

Gillig said he is not concerned with any necessary adjustments, because he thinks the confusion over the current name is a larger disadvantage.

“I honestly don’t think that it will be that big of a drawback,” he said. “I think everyone is fairly well primed to recognize exactly what Graduate and Professional Student Government means.”

Katherine Valde, the president of the UI Student Government, said she is pleased with the plan to begin the rebranding.

“I think that it will be easier and maybe clarify their role in the shared government,” she said.

As far as the wider scope of UI student governments, Gillig said, he hopes the undergraduate group, UISG, will follow their example.

“It is important for both student government names to reflect consistently,” he said, adding he understands any hesitation on the part of UISG, because this is a new proposal and requires much discussion.

UISG Vice President Jack Cumming said he does not see a renaming process in the near future for his group.

“We’re very well-branded on campus,” he said. “In my opinion, honestly, it just wouldn’t be necessary or a good investment at the moment.”

Valde said although she is aware of the proposed change, discussion has not yet taken place in UISG.

“Our name has been around for a long time, and it does have a lot of brand recognition … I think there would be some hesitation to a name change,” she said. “I would say those conversations are kind of preliminary.”

Miriam Weiner, an Executive Council delegate and president-elect of the Carver College of Medicine Student Government, said she hopes UISG will join the graduate/professional student group in its rebranding process, because she thinks the new names will benefit the UI community.

“Anything that allows our two separate student governments to work together more effectively is great,” she said. “If a name change or rebranding serves that purpose, then that’s wonderful.”

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