Olivia Silvey ’25
College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney emailed the Trinity College community on Thursday, February 17 to provide an update on the February Board meeting. Directors discussed valuation of the Ologie brand, the Trinity Athletic Giving (TAG) initiative, multi-year financial planning and the Class of 2026.
Ologie, a branding and marketing agency currently reviewing the College’s visual identity and platform, presented its full brand assessment to the trustees. Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications Hellen Hom-Diamond told the Tripod by email that the brand assessment is part of an ongoing project that “will help the College refine the way it expresses its distinctive character, strengthen its overall visibility and articulate its positioning as a destination for first choice for students, faculty and staff”. Hom-Diamond said the brand articulation produced by Ologie will serve as the foundation for how the College speaks about admissions, advancement and marketing.
In January, the College sent out a survey to evaluate a variety of promotional materials produced by Ologie. Hom-Diamond told the Tripod that the survey was specifically sent to current members of the community, prospective students and external college advisors. “The concept resonated more strongly with advisors, current and prospective students, and families than with our faculty/staff and alumni. The feedback we heard was extremely helpful in guiding the next iteration, which is currently underway,” Hom-Diamond said.
Members of Alumni For A Better Trinity College, a Facebook group with 2,400 members, were disappointed with the branded material featured in the Ologie survey. Under a discussion post with a link to the survey, which contains 83 comments, many alumni criticized the bland and generic appearance of the marketing materials developed by Ologie. Others commented that the College should promote its history, high return on investment (ROI), and the social benefits of the Trinity community for students and graduates.
“It’s rare to see such poor work. It has no value. Trinity shouldn’t even pay for this. It’s that bad. But if we want to sound like the dumbest people in the room, go ahead,” commented Douglas Kim ’87 one of the group’s moderators. Kim also pointed out the similarities between the promotional materials developed by Ologie and those announced by the University of Pennsylvania. “Athletics and extra curricular activities weren’t even mentioned wtf,” commented another alum who received seven likes.
Hom-Diamond further told the Tripod that the College will use the brand assessment to develop a creative platform that incorporates elements of language, aesthetic direction and visual identity. She also indicated that the Order plans to share more about the work later in the spring.
Regarding the TAG initiative, which was open from January 31 to February 7, Berger-Sweeney announced in his email that Trinity had exceeded its donor participation and its $ 1.2 million goal. dollars. The College raised $239 million for the overall bicentennial campaign, or 48% of the goal. In March 2021, Vice President for College Advancement Michael Casey told the Tripod that Trinity had raised $196 million for the campaign. As of September 2020, Trinity has raised $182 million, including $64 million of that total raised from November 2019 to September 2020.
Graduate participation has been declining since 2007. According to a fall 2019 edition of The Trinity Reportera publication produced by the College, 56.1% of graduates participated in 2007, 41.4% in 2012 and 28.5% in 2018. The Journalist attributed the period from FY11 to FY13, in which the College lost 40% of donors, to the controversy surrounding social community building and Trinity’s white paper under then-President Jimmy Jones . The white paper advocated requiring fraternities and sororities to become coeds, which means they would lose their national charters. The recommendation was met with anger, and in 2015 the board, in consultation with Berger-Sweeney, rescinded the student term “but the damage had been done”.
In October, Trinity’s executive director of alumni, family and giving, Kerry Smith, told the Tripod that the Trinity College Fund (TCF) saw a decrease in the number of donors from 6,288 (27.3%) in FY20 to 6,080 (26.1%) in FY21 – the lowest numbers since 2007. However, Smith reported that in FY20, the College raised $13.3 million between TCF, Student Emergency and Equity Fund (SEEF) and contributions from Current Purpose Financial Aid and Current Purpose Contributions to Athletics – a 30% increase over the previous year and the second highest in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Berger-Sweeney’s multi-year financial planning update included developing the next multi-year budget model from fiscal year 23 to fiscal year 26. She noted that the class of 2025 has smaller class years and has greater financial need than previous classes while being academically stronger than previous classes. Berger-Sweeney attributed the decline in the number of applicants for the Class of 2025 to other institutions implementing optional testing application and an overall decline in applications to private institutions nationwide.
Berger-Sweeney said in her email that the applicant pool for the Class of 2026 has grown to 6,155 applicants, a five-year high, with an increase in the quality of students, international students, American students of color and athletes. Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina told the Tripod at the end of February that ED II candidates have until the end of the month to finalize their decisions. He said the College will provide an update regarding the Class of 2026 to the Communications Office the week of March 7.