All over the WIU campus, “Think Purple” is everywhere. “Think Purple” signs, “Think Purple” bumper stickers, and “Think Purple” shirts…purple is everywhere! Starting about three years ago, the “Think Purple” campaign began to spread WIU spirit into the community. Since then, it has sky-rocketed into success.
Brad Bainter, Vice President for Advancement and Public Services, explained “Think Purple” grew out of an attempt to get Macomb’s community more involved with the university. More than 30 local businesses were given free purple t-shirts to wear on certain days to build school pride, such as commencement weekends or Homecoming. From there, “Think Purple” became a slogan for WIU. “Now we have ‘Think Purple, Think Success, Think Western’. People really grabbed onto it and like the idea. Fortunately, purple is a color that sticks out. Now people see purple and think Western. We’ve gotten a lot of compliments,” Bainter said.
Because “Think Purple” has expanded across the state, people connect the color purple with WIU more frequently than ever before. “We’ve had some ‘Think Purple’ posters up around Chicago. We’ve had them on Michigan Avenue, and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who are happy to see it,” he said. “We have a billboard around O’Hare Airport also. The most comments we get is about the billboard on I-294 which says ‘Purple Reign’.”
Not only are there posters and billboards found across the state, three videos have now been created to stir up more purple attention. Bainter said two of the videos will play during trailers at movie theaters over the holiday season. “There’s a 30-second advertisement that will be played at movie theaters up around Chicago…then you can see it downstate in Peoria, Quad Cities, Springfield,” Bainter began. “We’ve also picked up Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana to show the advertisement. We want to show the prospective students that we are here,” he said.
As for the students, faculty, and staff who are here at WIU, more purple has been popping up all over campus. Bainter said the entire campus is encouraged to start wearing purple, especially on Fridays. “It’s something that has drawn a lot of attention to the university and it also instills a lot of pride. This is us…this is our identity,” he said. “From an alumnus standpoint, we get a lot of calls about how they see all the purple, and they’re proud.”
More than thirty businesses in Macomb are involved with the Think Purple campaign, and Bainter said he and his staff are always looking for new ideas to create more buzz about WIU. If you have any suggestions or advice, you can contact Bainter at BL-Bainter@wiu.edu. Let’s show our purple spirit, WIU!