United Futures

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

It will be rather a relief not to have to refer to EAUC again when it adopts its new brand: United Futures – even though this has an extra 2 syllables it flows more smoothly that E A U C (I usually had to take a breath after each letter and never quite had the courage just to say YUK).  It's certainly much more economical that the tiresome 20 syllable Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges ...

There's a debate of sorts about the new (not yet adopted) name.  Here's Andy Nolan:

United Futures. When I heard it the first time, I thought ‘hmmm’. Not specific enough. Doesn’t tell me ‘sustainability’ or ‘university’ or ‘college’ and certainly doesn’t say ‘post-16 tertiary education’ to me. Well, good. It doesn’t need to. I don’t know how you reacted to the proposed name. It may have been with disbelief, indifference or excitement. Of course, it matters what the association is called but what’s more important it what it does. After a few minutes of thinking about it, I realised that. I also realised that the flexibility in the new name was a good thing – why box yourself in when you can create flexibility? Further and higher education doesn’t need any more constraints placed on it in such uncertain times. I like the way the new name aligns with the sustainable development goals and is forward looking.

Although Andy has to be right – what matters is what it does – the name is important as the Royal Mail found when it had its expensive Consignia brain seizure.

That's why I'm not convinced about United Futures.  There are three main reasons:

  1. confusion with other brands: United Airlines / United Nations / United States / Manchester (West Ham ...) United (etc) / Unite the Union
  2. (inevitably) the name already exists; for example: in the UK for a community partnership – United Futures and, internationally, for a futures broker – United Futures
  3. Although the plural futures is important as more than one future is possible, the qualifying united rather contradicts the plural.  How are many futures to be united?  Or is the idea that we'll all be united around a sustainable future?  Some hope!

Of course, [1] is really neither here nor there and [2] is unfortunate but inevitable.  I take [3] more seriously however as it sends a confused message.  Whether that would be enough to cause me to vote against is another matter.

My suggestion would have been Think Futures or Thinking Futures  if they hadn't already been taken / taken – as these leave the issues in play here open to possibility, and the word think(ing) would be a constant reminder to the future EAUC about what it's priorities should be.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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