The Charger Blog

University Community Celebrates Launch of New ‘Power On’ Brand

The words “power on” capture the University’s transformative impact on students, as well as how Chargers draw support from each other and their own sense of purpose as they activate, engage, and power on their goals and dreams.

December 8, 2023

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

The University’s new brand was on full display at the recent launch celebration.
The University’s new brand was on full display at the recent launch celebration.

When Nicole Harry ’23, ’25 M.S. stood in front of the Charger statue on the University of New Haven campus and shared what the words “power on” mean to her, she thought of her own experiences as a first-generation student. As she looked into the camera, she projected her power as she shared her own story of determination and perseverance.

Harry was speaking as part of video that included students, faculty, and staff reflecting on how they “power on” and how their fellow Chargers and the University community fuel their power. Harry endeavored to empower and encourage members of Charger Nation as she spoke on camera.

“I had to turn dust into gold,” said Harry, a candidate in the University’s graduate program in cellular and molecular biology. “I had to find my power within to succeed no matter what trials and tribulations I went through. It is important that you never lose sight of your power. Hone into it and hold onto it and empower yourself daily because at the end of the day, it is up to you to be the master creator of your own reality here at the University of New Haven.”

‘A real sense of purpose’

The video was shown to members of the University community as part of a brand launch celebration. It was an exciting event to officially introduce the University’s new “power on” brand and its messaging, its design, and its colors. It also encouraged Chargers to reflect on what “power on” means to them and how those two words encapsulate the University’s mission, forward-looking approach, resolve, and action-oriented mindset.

For Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D., interim president of the University, the new brand is another opportunity to emphasize the University’s commitment to students.

“Our faculty and staff are the arms and legs who get the work done, and our students are our purpose,” he said. “Our students are our why. This is all about the students. People often remark to me that our students are different, they have a real sense of purpose. I am so proud of them.”

Monique Bolt and Dr. Sheahon Zenger were charged up to attend the “power on” brand launch.
Monique Bolt and Dr. Sheahon Zenger were charged up to attend the “power on” brand launch.
‘A rallying cry’

As part of the event, Bruce Barber, professional in residence and general manager of the University’s award-winning radio station WNHU, led a panel discussion about the development of the brand. It brought together Dr. Zenger; Sue Pranulis, ‪senior executive director of marketing and communications; and Lesley Bielby, CEO of DiGo (DiMassimo Goldstein), the renowned New York City-based creative agency with whom the University collaborated on the campaign. The agency has worked with such well-known brands as Pfizer, CVS, and Samsung.‬‬‬‬

If you’re familiar with successful campaigns such as “America runs on Dunkin,” you’re familiar with Bielby’s work. She and DiGo were charged up to listen to what Chargers had to say about the University, and they wanted to include feedback from students, alumni, faculty, and staff in creating the University’s new brand. They did just that – conducting 70 stakeholder interviews and 1,500 external surveys, as well as through focus groups with students. They soon saw a common theme emerge: Chargers believe we have the power to change the world.

Bruce Barber (far left) moderated the panel discussion with Lesley Bielby,Dr. Sheahon Zenger and Sue Pranulis.
Bruce Barber (far left) moderated the panel discussion with Lesley Bielby,Dr. Sheahon Zenger and Sue Pranulis.

“We behaved like prospective parents of students,” explained Bielby as part of the panel discussion. “We found the University is a magical place. When you come here, something happens, like a switch is flipped. The University brings that out of you – it’s about giving you the forum, the circumstances, and the opportunities to flip your own power on, what’s already within you.”

The brand reflects that commitment to a global impact, as well as Chargers’ dedication to making a difference. It also captures what makes the University unique, as well as the characteristics that unite the Charger community.

Evidence of the new brand can now be seen across campus and online. It is depicted in the banners on campus and on the University’s website, something that has many Chargers – and Bielby – charged up.

“Those two words, Power On, aren’t just a tagline but a rallying cry,” she said. “If that’s what you’re about and you live it every day, it’s amazing what happens.”

‘To capture who we are’

It was Bielby’s idea to create the video that featured Harry and her fellow Chargers. The idea was to get Chargers’ candid reactions to “power on.” Students discussed how they power on and how they power through to achieve success. Students, faculty, and staff discussed several critical themes, such as connection, inspiration, community, and support.

“Students are coming here to power on their careers,” said Toyin Niyi Folorunso ’24 M.S., a candidate in the University’s graduate program in finance and financial analytics who hails from Nigeria, as part of the video. “The resources, the professors, so many people that I’ve met on campus, they’ve been very inspirational and very useful toward achieving our goals as people who come from thousands of miles to come here and experience the wonders of the American education system.”

Charlie and students celebrate the new “power on” brand.
Charlie and students celebrate the new “power on” brand.

As part of the event, Chargers learned how they, too, can plug into the new “power on” brand. They received access to tools such as PowerPoint templates and Zoom backgrounds that reflect the brand. The launch was the culminating event following a year of hard work, one that celebrates the University community’s members, mission, and meaning.

“We were able to capture who we are with this new brand,” said Dr. Zenger. “As we move forward, we need to see who we are and invest in who we are. This has been a great unifier.”