By MICHELE F. MIHALJEVICH
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — One of the challenges for those charged with promoting Purdue University extension is how to make the public aware of all the program has to offer, according to the head of the university’s department of agricultural communications.
To that end, extension officials have unveiled an updated logo with the tagline “Purdue Extension. Local Faces, Countless Connections.” The new logo reflects the university’s commitment to keeping an extension office in each of the state’s 92 counties, Beth Forbes, of extension, explained.
“Our local educators and staff know the needs of their community and the resources,” she said. “That’s a benefit to being in each county. But our educators are employees of Purdue University and they have information from a network of all the land grant universities.”
The network is available not only to farmers but to families, businesses and local government officials, she said. “A lot of people have no idea what extension is and if they have heard of it, they probably know 4-H,” Forbes said. “But we have so much more to offer.”
It’s important for the public to make the connection between Purdue and extension because people who may not be familiar with extension are aware of Purdue and they realize the university is broader than production agriculture and farming, she noted.
The new tagline replaces “Knowledge to Go,” which extension used for more than a dozen years, she said. The previous tagline was created at a time when officials were trying to introduce the public to ways to find information on various Purdue websites.
Officials with Purdue extension spent up to eight months working on developing the new logo and it was introduced at last year’s state fair. The process of converting to the new logo is an ongoing one, Forbes said.
To save money, previously printed literature isn’t being redone with the logo, but newly printed materials will reflect the change, she said. The number of people who use Purdue extension websites to find information grows annually, Forbes noted.
“What we provide is an unbiased source of information,” she said. “We’re not selling a product. The information comes from university research. It’s world-class, up-to-the-minute information. They trust us.”
The new logo will help provide consistency in the various ways extension reaches the public, said Nancy Manuel, extension educator for health and human sciences in Adams County.
“We’re getting out there in more places such as our websites and Facebook,” she said. “Purdue University extension is the best kept secret in the county. We have our hands in a lot of different things.
“We need to go out and let people see we are a community-based program for the needs of the community. We’re not just for agriculture, but for everybody.”
Kelly Heckaman, extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Kosciusko County, isn’t sure how much attention the public pays to things such as logos. She is sure, though, of the importance of making the public aware of the benefits of extension.
“That’s the struggle we face all the time,” she explained. “Marketing is our biggest hurdle. We struggle with how do we reach all the people we need to reach. How do you convince people that what we do is worth paying for?”