East Tennessee State University started a voting process Tuesday of selecting a design to represent the university in spirit and in style.
Tartan plaid that originally indoctrinated with the Scottish people to differentiate between different clans has re-emerged at the collegiate level, with ETSU following suit.
Donna Noland, first lady of ETSU, and tartan committee members have been hard at work to make sure the pattern comes into existence at the university.
“This was a project actually that we started several years ago and it’s just in the past few months come into fruition,” Noland said.
Noland said she’s had people ask her why the university is planning to adopt a tartan pattern and she explained the pattern has a lot to do with the region’s heritage, culture and future of the campus.
“When you think about our past, the significance of the old gold and the old navy kind of coming together with a brighter gold and a brighter navy, so that we can ... look toward the future,” Noland said. “We’ve just celebrated our centennial and so we’re now moving into the second century and as we do ... we’re looking to define the next 25 years. We view that this tartan will be a way to do that.”
The collaboration between University Relations, the College of Business and Technology, Digital Media, ETSU alumni, merchandising and a representative from athletics, as well as web designer Michaele Laws, have helped this project get off the ground, Noland said.
She said the students as well as the community really do serve a pivotal part of this process and encourages everyone to participate.
“That’s kind of what’s unique about this is that we are taking the vote to the community, to the students and to the alumni of this area. So, students do have a vote in it, as well as community leaders and faculty, staff,” Noland said. “Everyone can be a part of this legacy.”
The voting process started Tuesday, allowing anyone to go to the site and pick between the three different patterns.
“For voting purposes only, we named each of the designs after the first three presidents of the university,” she said. “A lot of effort went into designing these. I really feel like we have three good designs that we can present to the community and to the family of ETSU.”
Voters can choose from the Gilbreath design, sporting the new gold and blue look, the Sherrod design that is a mix of new and old golds and blues, as well as the Dossett design, where the gold and blue colors are toned down and traditional.
The completion of the ETSU designated tartan is not without its perks, as a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a tartan item will benefit students.
Noland said she’s excited to see what comes of the project and excited to bring people together for a cause.
“There’s always something fun and exciting about a challenge and about kind of seeing an outcome to a democratic process,” she said. “People get a say in this and this is going to be a legacy for ETSU. It’s nice to know that the community can be actively involved in that.”
Online voting will be open until Sept. 10 and Noland said they tentatively hope to see the community picked tartan items online and in local retail establishments by November.
To go online to see the patterns and to vote, visit www.etsu.edu/tartan.