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"Name" is the Name of the Game

The president of Cal State Hayward announced that she will propose changing the name of the campus to Cal State East Bay. Some argue this will enhance the campus' image while others argue it will deflect attention away from more pressing campus needs.

After a year of focus groups and discussions, the president of Cal State Hayward announced that she will propose changing the name of the campus to Cal State East Bay. She argues it has to do with community identification and broadening the geographical area to include the entire region, but many say it has more to do with the lackluster reputation of the industrial area known as Hayward.

Will a name change enhance the campus' image or instead deflect attention away from more pressing campus needs?

It may seem superficial and needlessly time-consuming to change the name of Cal State Hayward to Cal State East Bay, but perception is reality. This nominal alteration may not only attract brighter students and sizable donations to the university, but could result in benefits to the faculty and students, such as a greater number of books published and research grants awarded.

Take Los Angeles real estate as an analogy. What do Angelinos do when they want to modify attitudes towards an undistinguished or downtrodden neighborhood? They re-name. This results in prestige, local improvements, and ultimately a considerable increase in property values. Valley Village, Lake Balboa, West Hills and Valley Glen demonstrate the success of this technique.

Trendy Beverly Hills executives regularly buy real estate in neighborhoods they previously shunned. The only difference? A name change and the ensuing perception shift.

Cal State East Bay should do very well.

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