Elizabeth Lindsey ’86:

It’s my understanding that these promotional materials go through market testing before they’re adopted. So they must be speaking to the target audience, which is high school girls and their parents. Personally, I think the graphics are too visually busy, and the emphasis on brown makes it all a bit dreary. But at the same time, these are patterns, colors, and tones I’m seeing elsewhere (e.g., clothing, notebook covers, etc.) these days, so they must speak to someone, if not to me. I do like the way the material is compressed into a single, really cool shape that begs to be played with (implying that SBC is fun?), as opposed to a number of little bits and pieces to juggle the way the “Pink” materials were. Although, I did like the “Pink’s” little booklet on traditions and am sorry that “Flourish” doesn’t carry that over.

Sweet Briar’s traditions are so important to the intentional community building that happens on campus, and the Sweet Briar community, both campus and worldwide, is a truly cherished part of the college. Initially I didn’t care for the “Pink” stuff because, being from the “we’re women, not girls” generation, I still feel that the use of “girls” is derogatory, a put down along the lines of “you run like a girl” (and what’s wrong with that?!). But once I understood that young women now don’t bring that kind of baggage to the word, I was okay with it. I’m also a sucker for clever rhymes and alliterations. I did find at college fairs that that lurid Pepto-Bismal pink really did lure the young women to the Sweet Briar table. Clearly the market research for that campaign had done its job well in terms of color selection.

On a historical note, the promotional material Sweet Briar sent me back in 1980-81 was called “Education for Success.” I think I may still have it around here somewhere. This was back in the days of women beginning to enter the most male-dominated fields, the term “glass ceiling” was coined, and we were all encouraged to “dress for success” in the workplace. My senior year, my mom bought me the regulation dress-for-success navy wool blazer, white blouse, and pleated grey wool skirt for my official interview outfit. Basically a feminized men’s suit. I was dressed for success and ready to put my education for success to the test! I’m not sure when that campaign changed, but I remember it going strong while I was a student. I graduated in 1986.

MEA CULPA. The campaign designed to hook me back in the 1980s was *not* “Education for Success” but rather “An Education for Reality.” I’ve just been out in the garage unearthing those materials and have them in front of me now. Along with the “An Education for Reality” pamphlet Sweet Briar sent me, I also received the one for the athletics department called “Fit for Life” (back in the days when those fitness trail course things were new and exciting), one featuring the science and math program called “The Challenges of Science,” and one called “The New Literacy: Computer Science and the Liberal Arts.” I entered Sweet Briar with an electric typewriter, but emerged with some basic word processing skills–a true education for reality there!

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