Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I recently ordered this customized pair of NikeID shoes to wear during freshman orientation next month. A large number of the orientation leaders are ordering "hokie-fied" footwear to match our uniform orange and maroon polos, and I thought that this choice of shoe was really cool. I decided to personalize my shoes with the Virginia Tech motto, "Ut Prosim:" That I May Serve, on the tongues of the shoes. One of my favorite things about Virginia Tech is its loyalty to the school's values and traditions. During my undergraduate years at Virginia Tech, I've noticed that the campus culture truly adheres to these values. The pylons, a focal point of the campus, are regarded as a special and sacred place to any Hokie, mainly for the core values that the eight pillars represent (Brotherhood, Ut Prosim, Loyalty, Leadership, Service, Honor, Duty, Sacrifice). Why is all of this relevant to marketing for me? Aside from Nike being one of my favorite brands, I respect the way that Virginia Tech has branded its motto and values to not only the Hokie community, but externally as well. Virginia Tech is renowned for its athletics, research, and outstanding programs for architecture and engineering. While these are incredible ways to brand the university, I believe that the concept of service and loyalty are more widespread brands that relate to everyone. At our university, each student learns the meaning of Ut Prosim through orientation and Camp activities, and even in campus organizations like HokieSGA, The Big Event, Relay for Life, and Student Alumni Associates. Students enthusiastically exemplify the motto in their daily lives on campus. Virginia Tech's Relay for Life is the largest collegiate Relay in the world. Our Big Event is the second largest event of its kind in the nation. The energy to impact the community and society as a whole is bursting all over campus, and it radiates further as Hokies graduate and disperse. For the season opening football game this past fall, Nike created an exclusive uniform for the Virginia Tech football team to wear against Boise State. To coordinate with the uniforms, the university also released special "black out" shirts for students and fans to purchase. The theme of these shirts was "Ut Prosim." Proceeds from the sales of the shirts were donated back to Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets, another longstanding Hokie tradition. Just to see our motto being promoted outside of community service work proved to me that Ut Prosim can be more than a school's Latin motto. It's an attitude, a way of life, branded by the Hokie community. And Ut Prosim will now be with me with each step that I take, once my delivery from NikeID arrives.