Name change could be a game changer
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 15:09
What’s in a name? That which we call Stadium Boulevard by any other name would still have just as bad traffic.
Shakespeare puns and jokes aside, there is controversy over the power of a name. Hamlet poses important questions: Does the a name define the substance it is applied to, or does the substance transcend the name we label it with? For Hamlet, there was incentive to claim that a name is simply a word attributed ambiguously.
Many scholars would disagree with this assumption, claiming that names play a large role in defining identity. As youngsters, our name is the the first thing we learn to spell and write, and names only become more significant after that point.
Our names play a role in developing self-esteem, can serve as predictors of future employment, determine levels of credibility, and have even been linked to levels of success. Names affect how others view you, but more importantly how you come to view yourself.
Evidence for these claims are based in George Herbert Mead’s Symbolic Interaction Theory. The theory postulates that individuals act toward things based upon the meaning that they ascribe for them, and that these meanings only exist through social interactions.
Names often serve as a first symbolic interaction for individuals, institutions, or objects, defining how people will interact with them. This explains how names play such a large role in branding businesses, products, universities, and yes, even roads.
Take for example the iPod; just 15 years ago the term “iPod” was unknown, and now thanks to Apple products and successful branding, iPods, iPhones, iPads have all become iNormal, (corny iKnow).
When you hear the term gators the chance is your brain went straight to Florida before it went to the swamp. It is this name association that this institution and city wants to create with “Red Wolf.”
A road change would be just one more of Arkansas State University’s way of projecting its image in Jonesboro, Northeast Arkansas and the rest of the world, that happen to be traveling this way.
The name change is testament to the symbiotic relationship between the city and one of its largest icons. Just like other cooperations between two entities, ties need to be strengthened and grown.
With this in mind it is in ASU’s best interest to capitalize on their recent achievements. Plus, street names are intended to be permanent (pardon the irony) so this can also allow A-State to ride out the current community support into the future.
So yes Hamlet, by any other name it will still be a road, but by the name Red Wolf our university and community can continue to project our growing legacy and image into the world at large.
“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of ASU.