Students and faculty of Northwestern State University are partnering with the City of Natchitoches to rebrand the community and implement improvements while continuing the legacy of this historic town.
Dr. Chris Maggio, president of NSU and lifelong resident, refers to the university as “the hub of Natchitoches” and values the importance of its students being a part of such a monumental step forward in the community while keeping the historical legacy the city holds.
“Natchitoches forever has been the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase, and we won’t ever change that, nor should we,” he said. “We should hang onto that historical perspective of the town.”
Rebranding comes along with a new logo, theme, image and slogan.
“What we came up with is a saying that says, ‘Northwestern: Where history meets progress,'” Maggio said. “I think that [the historical concept is] very important to the identity, but it’s also important that we show that we are progressing as a community. We are tying the history into our future.”
And looking into the future, Maggio named several goals for the university’s image and reputation.
“We want to see Northwestern as the folks that are coming out as leaders in the [computer information systems] program, engineering technology, healthcare field and communication,” he said.
Van Erikson, associate director of Alumni Affairs at NSU, is working as head of the rebranding project and hopes to increase its appeal to present and future young adults in the university community.
Erikson is president of the Natchitoches Historic Development Commission and has partnered with a marketing company in Baton Rouge to release branding surveys to residents and tourists of Natchitoches. The survey included a variety of questions about the city, its biggest challenges, and what it symbolizes to those who visit or live here.
Due to the importance of the university in Natchitoches, Erikson thinks it is vital that the partnership between students and the community is reflected in this rebranding process.
“We’ve been getting a lot of students on campus to fill [the survey] out because it’s an important part to get the student’s perspective, too,” he said. “My goal for this is to make Natchitoches more millennial-friendly and more progressive. It’s not just a retirement community anymore, and we really need to publicize that fact to move it forward.”
Miss NSU Abby Hinds is one of many young adults who calls Natchitoches her home.
“The rebranding is so important because we as a community want others to see the pride and love [residents] share for Natchitoches,” she said.
At the project’s completion, NSU students will be able to see the City of Natchitoches become a brand that not
only represents them, but also the community they are a big part of.