Establishing Our Identity From Here

Original Advertising Approach Helps USF Gain Citywide Recognition and Preach Academic Excellence

     “Wicked Smart Without the Wicked Part.” “See Ethical Issues Clearly, Even With the Fog.” “Academics More Challenging Than Finding a Parking Spot in North Beach.” These are a few headlines from USF’s Higher Standard Advertising Campaign, a project that has spread catchy, clever slogans throughout San Francisco. Upon first glance, the headlines might elicit a brief chuckle or smile. After seeing them for a second or third time, however, it becomes clearer that behind the sarcasm and humor are portrayals of rich traditions, moral awareness, and quirky situations familiar to many residents of the City by the Bay.And not everyone is a fan.

Since the campaign started nearly two years ago, some of the advertisements have been considered offensive. The headlines “Become Wildly Successful Without Becoming A Jerk No One Likes” and “Academic Standards Higher Than Haight-Ashbury in the 60’s” have been criticized by members both inside and out of the USF community, for insinuating and referencing ideals not traditionally associated with academia.

It seems, however, that that is the point.

The advertisements, as part of an ongoing campaign effort to increase USF’s exposure in San Francisco, had to stand out. In order to stand out, the creative team aimed to make headlines that would cause a stir.

“We had to have personality, and that campaign has a personality,” said Gregory Pabst, the program director of advertising at USF. “It’s a little edgy, and a lot of it is really funny, but it’s also truthful, and that’s what makes it work.”

Headlines such as “There is No Moral Compass App” and “Run a Multinational Corporation and Still go to Heaven” represent a distinct departure from other college advertisements, but David Macmillan, USF’s vice president for communications and marketing, sees this as essential to the makings of a successful campaign.

“Institutions like us tend to be conservative in marketing, and not want to take chances, not want to take risks, not want to offend anybody,” Macmillan said. “You’re not going to get anybody’s attention that way. [The advertising agency’s] proposal was to make the headlines the ads. So no pictures of smiling students in their caps and gowns, and all that you typically see from universities.”

The first flight of the Higher Standard Campaign started in April 2012 in order to establish USF’s identity and distinguish the school from other local universities, like UCSF and SFSU.

“There was widespread concern at the university, that even in our own city, people didn’t know we were here, and didn’t know what a strong university we have here,” Macmillan said.

To address this issue, a committee chaired by Macmillan proposed to USF president, the Reverend Stephen A. Privett, plans to develop a new logo and tagline for the university.

In August 2011, “Change the World From Here” replaced “Educating Hearts and Minds to Change the World,” and the Office of Communications and Marketing was established. Soon after, the committee partnered with Presidio-based advertising company Hub Strategy to create the controversial headlines.

Another key aspect of the campaign is to bring focus to USF’s academic excellence and strong morals, inspiring such headlines as ‘Academic Standards Higher Than Haight-Ashbury in the 60’s,’ according to Macmillan.

Despite controversy over the headlines even amongst students, the Higher Standard Campaign has included USF students in the creation and discussion of the advertisements throughout the campaign. In spring 2012, a competition was held among advertising majors to see who could think of the best advertisement for the school. Senior Aaron Hong, who was a sophomore at the time, received second place in the challenge with a headline that read: “All the Ideals of Change and Passion Minus the Tie-Dye and Go-Go Boots.”

Students have had sufficient time to develop opinions about the advertisements since they hit the streets in 2012.

“I know it’s a pretty big [campaign], because ever since I started [going to USF], they’re the only ads I’ve been seeing around the city,” Hong said. “So obviously I think it’s a pretty good push.”

After noticing the advertisements on buses and around campus, junior nursing major Lized Purificacion reacted to their bold, in-your-face nature. “It’s like we’re on top,” Purificacion said. “Like ‘Hey, it’s us. It’s USF. Whoa.’ Kind of like…not the word arrogant, but close to that.”

For now, the city streets are decorated with newer headlines such as “Expanding Minds (Legally) Since 1855” and “Integrity. Responsibility. Money. (Pick Three)” that are slowly replacing the headlines from the older flights. As the campaign has grown, the ads have continued to draw from the culture of the Haight, stereotypes about the perks of a college education, and aspects of the Jesuit tradition in order to create catchy, yet thematically relevant slogans.

Currently, Macmillan and his team are conducting a survey to assess people’s reactions to the advertisements by showing pictures of the headlines and asking for opinions. As far as the future of the advertisements, the results of the survey will play a role in dictating the creative crew’s decisions going forward, and according to Macmillan, a proposal is in the works that will ask the university to fund the campaign’s third year.

Liam Kelly scored the Dons’ only goal against Gonzaga, but it was enough as USF prevailed 1-0. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Soccer Teams Wrap Up Season, Karlsen Named to All-WCC First Team


The Dons put forth a strong effort on the road, but ultimately rounded out their season with a tough 1-0 double overtime loss to the Portland Pilots on Nov. 17., after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 1-0 two days earlier in Spokane, Wash.

Despite the loss, USF played well against Portland, taking 17 shots to their opponents’ 11 and keeping the Pilots (9-11-0, 4-8-0 WCC) scoreless through regulation play. The Dons kicked into a higher gear at the start of overtime — senior midfielder Vegard Karlsen had multiple chances to win the game, but his shots couldn’t find the net. In the second overtime, USF continued to put pressure on Pilots goalie Justin Baarts, but to no avail. In the 106th minute, Portland midfielder Matthew Coffey sent a strong kick past San Francisco redshirt freshman goalkeeper Connor Gaal and into the goal, stunning the Dons and giving the home team an improbable 1-0 victory.

On Nov. 15, USF notched a huge win against Gonzaga (9-6-3, 4-4-3 WCC), jumping out to an early lead on senior forward Liam Kelly’s third goal of the season. In the 18th minute, Kelly controlled a pass from senior midfielder Mauricio Diaz de Leon and capitalized on his scoring opportunity to give the Dons a 1-0 advantage. For the rest of the match, USF junior goalkeeper Chase Hauser was able to prevent the Bulldogs from scoring, saving a penalty kick and helping San Francisco hold on in the final minutes. It was an impressive performance by the Dons, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.

Although they didn’t end the year with a winning record, many players turned in successful campaigns and rewarded for their efforts. Karlsen was named to the All-West Coast Conference First Team, while junior forward Miguel Aguilar and Diaz de Leon were awarded Second Team honors.

This season also marked Head Coach Erik Visser’s final year with the team. Visser, who began his coaching career at USF in 2001, announced his retirement on Nov. 20. A two-time NCAA champion as a player for legendary Dons coach Stephen Negoesco as well as a three-time WCC Coach of the Year, Visser leaves the program as a central figure in the history of USF soccer whose impact will be felt for years to come.


In their last two matches of the year, the Dons suffered close losses to Portland and Gonzaga, falling by a score of 1-0 in both games.

On Nov. 19 at Merlo Field, USF (6-10-4, 1-6-2) gave No. 12 Portland (16-2-1, 8-1-0) all it could handle, keeping the score tied until the 67th minute, when Pilots midfielder Ellen Parker found an opening off of a corner kick and gave Portland a lead they would not relinquish.

The loss was a disappointing one for the Dons, but the team proved that they can hang with the best in the conference, let alone the nation. Sophomore goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel’s four saves put San Francisco in position to come up with a win or tie, and junior Mackenzie Krieser got a good look at the goal in the first half, but in the end the Dons couldn’t outlast the Pilots, who clinched the top spot in the West Coast Conference with the victory.

In their previous game, the Dons fell behind early and were never able to recover. Facing Gonzaga (7-11-1, 3-6-0) on the road, USF came out aggressive and attempted two early shots, but in the seventh minute the tides turned, and the Dons gave up a goal to Bulldogs forward Heather Johnson.

The Dons didn’t let their offensive struggles affect their effort, however, as they worked hard to even the score late in the game. Junior midfielder Jaciara Mello nearly tied the match in the 86th minute, but her shot was saved by Gonzaga goalkeeper Christie Tombari.

San Francisco ended the season in ninth place in the WCC, but their multiple heart-wrenching losses suggest that their record would be much better if the ball had rolled their way a few more times. USF lost five games by just a one-goal margin.

The Dons held high academic standards all season long, with the players combining to average a GPA of 3.36. Also, three different Dons were given All-WCC honors. Junior forward Halle Bissin and Schiffel were both Honorable Mention selections, and freshman defender Jessica Nakae was named to the All-Freshman Team.

Women’s Basketball: Freshman Rachel Howard Takes Charge of USF Offense, Earns All-Tournament Honors

Rachel Howard shoots over the outstretched hand of Cal Poly sophomore Beth Balbierz. The freshman averaged 17.5 points during the Cal Poly Holiday Beach Classic. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Rachel Howard shoots over the outstretched hand of Cal Poly sophomore Beth Balbierz. The freshman averaged 17.5 points during the Cal Poly Holiday Beach Classic. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

USF suffered a 76-65 loss to the Cal Poly Mustangs on Nov. 30 after competing in a back and forth game came that down to rebounding, in which Cal Poly excelled. The Mustangs held a 52-42 rebounding edge, 18 of their rebounds being offensive boards that led to 15 second chance points. The Dons (2-4) were coming off of a 69-67 victory over UC Davis in their first game of the Cal Poly Holiday Beach Classic tournament in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

The Cal Poly game was the first time in this young season that only two Dons were able to score in double digits. Freshman guard Rachel Howard had another excellent performance, scoring 18 points and dishing out four assists to earn a spot on the all-tournament team. Sophomore forward Taylor Proctor was the only other Don to score in double digits, adding 12 points to San Francisco’s total.

Cal Poly opened the game with an 8-3 run, to which the Dons responded with an 11-0 run of their own. This gave San Francisco a six-point lead, their largest of the night. Cal Poly continued to fight back offensively, and closed out the half up three baskets on the Dons.

After the half, the Mustangs stretched their lead to 54-46, due largely in part to their dominance in the paint and on the boards. Howard put a three-point shot in the basket, beginning a rally on both offense and defense for the Dons. San Francisco cut the deficit to one point before the Mustangs began an 18-5 run that gave them a 14-point advantage that USF could not recover from. This game marked the end of the tournament, and the end of San Francisco’s Thanksgiving road trip.

In their opening game of the tournament on Nov. 29, the Dons defeated the UC Davis Aggies in a game that came down to the final seconds, and was sealed by the excellent rebounding of Proctor.

Like the game against Cal Poly, USF’s opponent jumped out to an early lead. The Aggies went up 6-0 early on, but the Dons quickly came back to tie the score at 9-9. The game was a back-and-forth affair, with several notable defensive and offensive plays. In a span of 90 seconds, junior guards Jamie Katuna and Taj Winston took charges along with Howard to come up with defensive stops that allowed the Dons to stay on the offensive side of the ball. The Dons went to halftime up five points.

UC Davis came out of the half just like they did at the beginning of the game, scoring the first basket that led to a 16-5 Aggies run. This time, San Francisco quieted their scoring streak with a 7-0 run of their own. The Aggies did not give up, and tied the game 62-62 with a 3:32 left to play in the second half. The score was 66-66 with under a minute left, and with 23.3 seconds remaining in the game, Howard made a three-point basket to give the Dons a three point advantage. The Aggies made one of two free throws to cut the lead to two points with 2.5 seconds left. Proctor secured the loose ball off the missed free throw, running the clock out and sealing the game.

Howard ended the game with 17 points, leading her team in scoring. Proctor added 12 points along with 11 points from Winston. Freshman forward Claudia Price also tacked on 10 points, making it four games in a row that four or more Dons scored in double digits.

San Francisco now comes home to play against University of Nevada, Las Vegas in their own War Memorial Gym. The game will be on Monday, Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Volleyball: Sweeps Make Sweet Ending to Season For Dons

USF closed out the season with two straight set victories against WCC rivals Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount at War Memorial Gym. The Dons concluded the season with a 13-15 overall record (9-9 West Coast Conference), just edging out Pepperdine for fourth place in conference standings.

On Nov. 23, USF faced the Loyola Marymount Lions on Senior Day in what was their last game of the season. Before the game commenced, the four seniors on the team were honored for their contributions to the school. In the presence of their families, the seniors, setter Mackenzie Murtagh, libero Rebecca Kopilovitch, outside hitter Malina Terrell and defensive specialist/libero Whitney Swain, were presented with mementos from their time on the Hilltop.

“Whitney, Becky, Malina and Mackenzie were in it together to lead the team, to stay together until the end,” head coach Gilad Doron told USFDons.com. “It’s set a great tone for everybody else and this team particularly needed that. It was their presence, their will, their energy on the court today that helped us throughout this year, and especially these last two matches.”

In a game where the focus was on the seniors, it was sophomore outside hitter Ester de Vries, freshman opposite hitter Katarina Pilepic and junior middle blocker Valentina Zaloznik who led USF’s offense with 12, 10 and nine kills, respectively. Murtagh recorded a team-high 20 assists, and Kopilovitch pitched in with 10 digs.

The first set proved to be an intense battle for the two teams, who exchanged the lead 16 different times. With the score tied at 25, USF finally managed to clinch the 27-25 set victory behind a kill and a solo block from Terrell.

The next two sets followed a similar pattern, with seniors clinching the winning point both times. In the second set, the winning point came when Murtagh set up Terrell for the kill to give the Dons the win, 25-22. As for the third and final set played that day, the point that sealed USF’s victory and ended the seniors’ collegiate career came from the hands of Murtagh, who served an ace. The Dons won the third set 25-21 to wrap up the season with a sweep of the Lions.

“Oh boy, what a way to end,” Murtagh told USFDons.com. “Serving is one of my favorite parts of the game. To end on an ace is the icing on the cake. With my entire family here, and to win in three, and to win how we did was great. I couldn’t have picked it to end any better than this.”

On Nov. 21, USF made history and completed their first ever season sweep against the strong Pepperdine Waves in straight sets. The Dons made quick work of the Waves and notched the victory with scores of 26-24, 25-23 and 25-17. Pilepic, Zaloznik and Terrell led the stellar team play with 13, 12 and 10 kills, respectively.

Earlier in the season on Sept. 21, USF faced Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif. and beat them in a hard-fought 3-2 win. The Dons now boast a three-game winning streak against the Waves.

“It means a lot to get this win,” Doron told USFDons.com. “Pepperdine is one of those powerhouses in the conference and [Waves Head Coach] Nina Matthies, who is going to retire after this year, has done an amazing job of always having that team in the top 25. Getting three in a row in the past year and a half is a credit to our players and to their determination. Today, the fans just watched a great volleyball match in War Memorial Gym.”

USF’s excellent play over the last two games sends them into the offseason on a strong note. The Dons will look to improve and get ready for next fall, when they hope to solidify themselves as a contender in the WCC.

Ask the Students: What Are You Looking for in the Next University President?

 “I would like to see a president who embodies the Jesuit values of USF and listens to the community has a whole. It is my understanding that the job of  President of a University is to represent the school to others as well as lead in a responsible and respectful manner. It would be nice to see a president that listens to the students and creates an environment that allows for open conversation about issues that people care about.” -Megan Houston, sophomore, Psychology


“I want a President that will put students first, above anything else, ensure that education standards are top notch, and will help pave the way to make USF an even finer institution than it already is.” -Pranav Mandavia, junior, Communication Studies


“All we can really ask for in a University President is someone who is wide open to new ideas, understanding, and honest. If these qualities are on the table, we’re already headed in the right direction.” -Khuyen Do, junior, International Studies


“I would love to see a President that is in touch with student involvement on USF’s campus. It would be great to see the next President foster growth of campus life and make USF a destination of students who want to attend the University for the University’s sake, not just the destination for students who want to attend school in SF.” -Lauren Voss, junior, Nursing

“I would like a president who believes in equality for all.  Some one who is a hardworker and wants what is best for the students and faculty.” -Liz Beckerle, freshman, Psychology

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“Someone who is invested in the diversity of our campus is an admirable value to have as President.” -Hannah Villano, sophomore, Psychology

“I like the ‘whole person education’ standpoint that Father Privett used. I would like to see our President be someone who is equally interested in developing the mind as well as a good conscience.” -Liliana Robertson, junior, Psychology

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“I think it’s assumed that a university leader is one who is honorable and wants the best for the student body but an important value that’s overlooked is someone who is relatable. This role should be taken on by someone we can connect with on a personal level.” -Kelsey Gummow, senior, Communications

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“The university leader needs to be someone who has a presence on campus.” -Jessica Small, junior, Communications and Advertising

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“The next University President should be someone who is not afraid to rock the boat for change!” -Naudia Queen, senior, Communications

Ellis Act Marginalizes San Francisco Residents

On November 14th San Francisco City Hall heard testimonies from dozens of San Franciscans who were evicted from their homes during a hearing on the Ellis Act. Since the implementation of the the Ellis Act over twenty years ago, more than four thousand people have faced evictions. My friend received news in September that he had to vacate his studio apartment, he is one of many renters along the Market and 6th Street corridor evicted on the premise of the Ellis Act. His building on Market is one of the last remaining remnants of affordable housing in the city, particularly for low-income residents. Unfortunately, for many San Franciscans this story is becoming less uncommon. So what exactly is the Ellis Act, and why has it been so controversial?

The Ellis Act essentially undermines rent control and condominium laws in California by allowing property owners a loophole in evicting renters. The state act was created to supersede a 1984 California Supreme Court decision called Nash v. City of Santa Monica. The decision made it illegal for property owners to evict tenants on the basis of retirement without a permit by the city. The decision stated that permits would only be given if the property owner could not, “make a reasonable return on his or her investment.” The Ellis Act grants landlords the unconditional right to “go out of business” with only minor provisions. In San Francisco, the property owner is required to give an average renter a minimum of $5,105 dollars in relocation benefits and a maximum of $15,315 (this is the highest relocation fee in the state). In addition, the property owner must provide all renters proper notice and cannot lease out the property again for an extended amount of time. However, in a city where the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,800 a month and renters are expected to pay first and last month rent along with a deposit, $5,000 is not a fair trade-off for most low-income residents.

Instead of retiring altogether, some landlords are simply enacting the Ellis Act to kick out their current tenants and rent to individuals willing to pay a higher rate, or turn their buildings into tenancies-in-common (TIC) to make a quick profit. The San Francisco Tenants Right Union, even warns of some property owners sending “advisories” notices to tenants of a possible Ellis Eviction to bluff tenants into moving out– or simply buying them out. Such abuses of the Ellis Act have occurred, resulting in less affordable housing and the exodus of low-income residents in favor of wealthier ones. The two areas that have been affected the most by Ellis Acts evictions are the Mission and Castro district, where many are long-term elderly residents. During the November City Hall meeting, budget and legislative analyst Fred Brousseau presented a study that showed a nearly 145% increase in Ellis Act evictions in the last twelve months alone.

Currently, two policies in the works aim to restrict the surge in Ellis Act evictions. One, set forth by Ed Lee’s office, makes evictions more expensive in order to encourage landlords from pursuing them. Lee plans to raise the costs of permits and limit the sale and resale of buildings after an Ellis Act eviction. The second proposal by Supervisor David Campos would bar property owners from raising rent post-eviction and a moratorium on evictions. Campos also suggested an increase in the relocation fees for current tenants and tracking buyouts along with formal Ellis evictions. Campos’ idea is particularly compelling as it addresses the rising costs for renters in San Francisco.

While both city proposals have the potential for change, all past modifications to the enactment have failed. Proponents of the Ellis Act say it allows property owners an option to remove tenants who have lived in the same unit long-term and have now become an economic burden. However, the Nash v. City of Santa Monica decision already protected property owners’ investments. The idea that property owners can evict long-term renters to make a greater profit is problematic, and a renter should not be at fault for remaining in a unit. Property owners enter into a contract willingly with the renter when they move in, and new owners know they are legally responsible for renters upon sale. It is important for us to not only know our rights as renters but also protect long-term residents of the city, by supporting legislation that will create more inclusive housing for San Francisco citizens.

Bryce Chiodo is a senior international studies major.