Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hair on Fire Was Never This Much Fun

Working in public relations is usually fun and stressful at the same time, and that's never been more the case during July and August at UNC Charlotte. These last several weeks have seen many days when our hair was on fire, rushing about trying to meet deadlines, finding experts for media interviews, planning a major press conference, sewing together the latest edition of a great magazine, writing op-eds and ballyhooing our new branding campaign. We gird our loins and bring our "A" game everyday. We love the "juice" of stress and never skimp on laughs; sometimes we lapse profane.

Communicating about UNC Charlotte is fun because we are working on behalf of a university that's one of the "good guys." Here are some of the stories we've been wrapped around lately, all of which bode well for all 28,000 students, staff and faculty, and indirectly for all of Charlotte.

On Aug. 18 we announced with The Leon Levine Foundation, a magnificent new merit scholarship program, Levine Scholars. Beginning next fall we'll bring to campus 15 top scholars every year -- stellar students from NC and beyond. The Levines are committing at least $9.3 million to this program that will seed the campus and community with young people who will enrich the community. From a room in our new Student Union, overlooking campus, an overflow crowd cheered this new initiative. The PR team, and colleagues in marketing, admissions, conference services, development and more busted it to make the event one for the ages at UNC Charlotte. On Aug. 18 we made history! Learn more at LevineScholars.uncc.com.

Speaking of the Student Union, it opened offically on Aug. 24. The sparkling new 196,000 square foot mecca is stunning. It dominates the new center of campus and is a spacious, gorgeous and inviting new home for all 49ers. Read about it, see photos and watch video on You Tube and the UNC Charlotte fan page on Facebook or at studentunion.uncc.com. The Student Union marketing team has another great story to tell and the PR team will help spread the word about yet another development that will make campus life exciting, fun and fulfilling. Drop by our Barnes & Noble book store, Starbucks, 49per Mac computer store, movie theater, dining courts and piano lounge.

Our Stake Your Claim branding campaign is gaining legs, especially now that students are back on campus. Our giant pickaxes are drawing attention --one is set up near our Dickson Gate front entrance, one at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and one at First Citizens Plaza in Uptown. Our billboards have sprouted around town and advertsing is appearing in media all over town. Social media sites are polka dotted with SYC postings.

This week we're pushing hard to get our latest UNC Charlotte magazine into production. When it is posted online in late September, you'll read about amazing faculty and staff who are staking their claim: cancer researcher Pinku Mukhurjee, special education leader and award winner Dianne Browder, Joe Gamez's work with the Charlotte Latino community, our novel Center for Global Public Relations and awesome student entertainers Brandon Kirkley, Jocelyn Ellis and The Sammies.

One of the great film noir movies says, "There are a million stories in the Naked City." Likewise, there are a million stories at the Great University. And the PR team and our many colleagues across campus aim to tell as many of those stories as we can. Let the hair burn!