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New UND nickname committee appointed; name slated to be put to public vote in May

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A new nickname committee has been appointed at the University of North Dakota hat will help choose a permanent nickname for the school as early as May.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A new nickname committee has been appointed at the University of North Dakota  hat will help choose a permanent nickname for the school as early as May. The committee is made up mostly of students and alumni, including such high profile names as Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter. One of the new committee members, associate professor John Bridewell, admitted he was a little nervous at first. "I had a number of friends say I should run the other way as fast as I can, that it wouldn't be a winning situation, but I'm not scared from that point of view," he said, laughing. "What happens, happens, and if I can contribute to the process to come up with a new logo then I'll gladly participate."
While UND President Robert Kelley said on multiple occasions he would implement the plan developed by the now disbanded Nickname and Logo Process Recommendation Task Force, not all of its recommendations were met by the appointment of the new committee. The final nickname will now be chosen by public vote rather than the new committee itself. Officials with UND's University and Public Relations Department said this was so that more people felt their voices were being heard."They felt (the committee's) charter should be to facilitate the process for the final selection of a nickname and that's exactly what the committee will do," UND spokesman Peter Johnson said. The committee's size -- which was originally supposed to be 15 members and is now 11 -- and how soon the new nickname will be chosen are other recommendations that were not adhered to. UND's former nickname and logo, the Fighting Sioux, was retired in late 2012 after the NCAA threatened sanctions. 'Recommendations' The nickname task force, appointed by Kelley in September, worked for about four months before recommending a new committee use a series of public polls and votes to narrow down choices before ultimately picking a permanent nickname. Members of the public with nickname suggestions should hold on to them, as the committee will decide how they want to gather public input after its first meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday on campus. "A lot of the details about how this process will work will be worked out by the committee at the first couple of meetings," UND Vice President for University and Public Affairs Susan Walton said. In accordance with the task force's plan, the new committee's members range from students and professors to alumni and community members. UND alumnus, former men's hockey goaltender and former task force member Karl Goehring was appointed chairman and UND Student Body Chief of Staff Jazmyn Friesz was made committee vice chairwoman. While student members of the last task force were the ones able to attend the fewest number of meetings, Walton said student perspective is very important. "The individuals involved do understand this is a big job, and it's going to take a lot of juggling and scheduling to commit to this," she said. Walton will also serve as project manager for the committee, as she did for the task force. Moving on As of Dec. 30, UND had spent $126,262 for the last nickname task force to work with consultants, hold town hall meetings across the country and gather information with an online poll. The new committee's members will not be paid for their service, just as the last task force members weren't."We're delighted to be working with them," Walton said. "They are volunteering their time and talents. They are a group of dedicated people who care deeply about the future of the University of North Dakota." New committee member Landon Balh, a student at UND, said he wrote that he would like to participate in the nickname discussion as it moved forward in the task force's November survey, and so the administration reached out to him. "I'm certainly excited to help UND move forward on this kind of journey we've been going on, but it's a lot of weight on the committee's shoulders," he said. "The biggest thing will be to gather input from everyone else and just kind of pick something that will encompass all of our tradition we've built as a school so far." The task force also recommended a flexible timeline of choosing a nickname within an 18-24 month time frame, but the new committee will submit a "short list" of names for the public to vote on by early May. Johnson and Walton said the reduced number of committee members was because many represented more than one stakeholder group. Goehring, for example, falls into both alumnus and community member categories. Advisers or ex officio members from the task force could still be appointed, depending on what the committee wants after they meet, Johnson said. The task force recommended developing a logo after a nickname is chosen, with the option of keeping "UND/North Dakota" as a permanent name. Some of the task force's specifications were met, such as having both male and female representation of current students and student athletes. The committee will not engage a professional facilitator as the last task force did, but collegiate branding expert Kelly O'Keefe, who provided branding counsel to that group, will provide counsel and discuss best practices with the group by phone. The committee's meetings are open to the public.GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A new nickname committee has been appointed at the University of North Dakota  hat will help choose a permanent nickname for the school as early as May.The committee is made up mostly of students and alumni, including such high profile names as Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter.One of the new committee members, associate professor John Bridewell, admitted he was a little nervous at first."I had a number of friends say I should run the other way as fast as I can, that it wouldn't be a winning situation, but I'm not scared from that point of view," he said, laughing. "What happens, happens, and if I can contribute to the process to come up with a new logo then I'll gladly participate."
While UND President Robert Kelley said on multiple occasions he would implement the plan developed by the now disbanded Nickname and Logo Process Recommendation Task Force, not all of its recommendations were met by the appointment of the new committee. The final nickname will now be chosen by public vote rather than the new committee itself.Officials with UND's University and Public Relations Department said this was so that more people felt their voices were being heard."They felt (the committee's) charter should be to facilitate the process for the final selection of a nickname and that's exactly what the committee will do," UND spokesman Peter Johnson said.The committee's size -- which was originally supposed to be 15 members and is now 11 -- and how soon the new nickname will be chosen are other recommendations that were not adhered to.UND's former nickname and logo, the Fighting Sioux, was retired in late 2012 after the NCAA threatened sanctions.'Recommendations'The nickname task force, appointed by Kelley in September, worked for about four months before recommending a new committee use a series of public polls and votes to narrow down choices before ultimately picking a permanent nickname.Members of the public with nickname suggestions should hold on to them, as the committee will decide how they want to gather public input after its first meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday on campus."A lot of the details about how this process will work will be worked out by the committee at the first couple of meetings," UND Vice President for University and Public Affairs Susan Walton said.In accordance with the task force's plan, the new committee's members range from students and professors to alumni and community members.UND alumnus, former men's hockey goaltender and former task force member Karl Goehring was appointed chairman and UND Student Body Chief of Staff Jazmyn Friesz was made committee vice chairwoman.While student members of the last task force were the ones able to attend the fewest number of meetings, Walton said student perspective is very important."The individuals involved do understand this is a big job, and it's going to take a lot of juggling and scheduling to commit to this," she said.Walton will also serve as project manager for the committee, as she did for the task force.Moving onAs of Dec. 30, UND had spent $126,262 for the last nickname task force to work with consultants, hold town hall meetings across the country and gather information with an online poll.The new committee's members will not be paid for their service, just as the last task force members weren't."We're delighted to be working with them," Walton said. "They are volunteering their time and talents. They are a group of dedicated people who care deeply about the future of the University of North Dakota."New committee member Landon Balh, a student at UND, said he wrote that he would like to participate in the nickname discussion as it moved forward in the task force's November survey, and so the administration reached out to him."I'm certainly excited to help UND move forward on this kind of journey we've been going on, but it's a lot of weight on the committee's shoulders," he said. "The biggest thing will be to gather input from everyone else and just kind of pick something that will encompass all of our tradition we've built as a school so far."The task force also recommended a flexible timeline of choosing a nickname within an 18-24 month time frame, but the new committee will submit a "short list" of names for the public to vote on by early May.Johnson and Walton said the reduced number of committee members was because many represented more than one stakeholder group. Goehring, for example, falls into both alumnus and community member categories.Advisers or ex officio members from the task force could still be appointed, depending on what the committee wants after they meet, Johnson said.The task force recommended developing a logo after a nickname is chosen, with the option of keeping "UND/North Dakota" as a permanent name.Some of the task force's specifications were met, such as having both male and female representation of current students and student athletes.The committee will not engage a professional facilitator as the last task force did, but collegiate branding expert Kelly O'Keefe, who provided branding counsel to that group, will provide counsel and discuss best practices with the group by phone.The committee's meetings are open to the public.

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