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Campus luxury deserves to be showcased

On October 9, 2013

Our honors college has a koi pond and a gorgeous garden. Our leisure pool has been compared to those of resorts, and our student housing has residence halls nicer than some apartment complexes.

Luxury and academics go hand in hand at UCF and the university had a legitimate right to market that.

While many might be quick to criticize this as the university moving away from the academic side of higher education, people also need to be aware that college is an experience. Going to a university that is aesthetically appealing and provides opportunities to relax and enjoy oneself is an absolute luxury, one we are lucky enough to have. Why wouldn’t we market that?

“Every university has books. Every university has professors. What differentiates you?” UCF spokesman Grant Heston told the Orlando Sentinel regarding the ad.

He’s right. Every school has award-winning faculty or programs but not every university has the amenities and stunning landscape that UCF calls its own. UCF chose to concentrate not on the academics that it has gotten recognition for but the personal and recreational positives that also define our institution. We set ourselves apart. Instead of criticizing, other institutions should be looking at how to do the same.

For those who have an issue with the ad when comparing it with the ads of other schools, here’s a question for you: Who is talking about the ads of the other schools? All eyes were on UCF. Isn’t that how ads are supposed to work?People are complaining that the ad didn’t touch on what’s important in college: curriculum.

Academics, yes, is the central part of college. Without academics, college is essentially a social network. However, recreation and leisure play a significant role in college life as well. Students who don’t take time for themselves can ultimately fail with all the pressures placed on them from their academics. People need time to just do something for themselves. All the ad did was show that UCF is also an institution that caters to students in a variety of ways. It provides students with not only academic outlets, but recreational ones as well. The ad showed UCF as a home, not just as a school.

As Orlando Sentinel local news columnist Beth Kassab wrote, UCF has “one of the nation’s newest medical schools, high academic standards and leading programs in simulation and photonics.” Why not include them in the ad? Because everyone else did. UCF didn’t want to be one of the other colleges that droned on and on about how a student that goes to UCF is assured a job anywhere in the country.

Let’s face it. Every other college in the country is vying for attention by peddling their faculties and academics in students’ faces. UCF made the decision to set itself a part in a way that would still attract students.

People discount how much an atmosphere plays into academic success by utilizing our campus, not just our academics, in a way that would bring in more students, UCF showed how innovative and how different it can be. Take notes everyone. This is how PR is supposed to work.

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