Monday, June 21, 2010

Presenting solutions

And now for the final chapter in the saga of my students and their research into parking and transportation at my university. You may recall from the four previous installments how we chose the project of researching and proposing changes to UCA's parking, shuttle, and pedestrian culture, where we went to find answers, what guided our communication efforts.

Today one prong of that strategy came to fruition, as three students from the class joined me in presenting hard copies of the fifty-page report to the university president and the vice president for finance and administration. A PDF went to a slightly wider distribution list, with an invitation to share it wherever it might be useful.

And the other prong is underway as well, with the hope that it will spring more fully back to life in the fall when students return to campus. UCA G.O.Y.A. is the name the students chose to brand their campaign. We knew we needed a logo, a name, a consistent identifier that would tie all the elements of the project together. But our brainstorming session to come up with a name sputtered for most of a class period. Everything we thought of seemed too limiting, confining the message to parking lots or cars, when we had recommendations on everything from shuttles to bikes to green space.

As we batted names back and forth, Jesse muttered, "Get off your asphalt." He meant it as a joke. But I gasped and the room went silent. That was it! We were saying that paving over more land wasn't the solution to UCA's parking and transportation problems. And it had an acronym -- not one that meant anything, necessarily, but one that you could pronounce: GOYA. Our most talented graphic designer got to work making a logo, our Facebook team started a fan page where all the links and info could be collected, and the brand was born.

Today UCA G.O.Y.A. became a movement that the administration took notice of. Its name, logo, and the names of its founding participants are on the report that we gave to the president and vice president. The story isn't over, but the task of organizing in such a way as to communicate and advocate is complete. You can learn more at, where the Executive Summary of our report is posted along with a few of the images and maps. We'd love to have you join us.

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