Sunday, January 4, 2009

Buffalo a winner in International Bowl


As a follow up to my earlier article about the institutional benefits from the University at Buffalo's appearance in the International Bowl, watching the game on ESPN provided further evidence of the value that an athletic program can bring to a university. Although UConn won the game 38-20, UB used their public service announcements throughout the game in short 10 second spots that highlighted brief but memorable accomplishments by the University that serve society, including:
  • The development of medicine for premature infants,

  • Techniques that have increased math scores in pre-kindergarten children 50%,

  • Sustainability initiatives for communities in the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica,

  • Earthquake engineering to build improved bridges and buildings,

  • Pharmacy advances to help AIDS patients in Africa, and

  • Specialized business training for non-profit organizations

In addition, Buffalo continued to get significant positive mention for the decision of the 1958 Lambert Cup team to skip the Tangerine Bowl due to discriminatory practices, including:

  • Interviews with members of the 1958 team,

  • Patches remembering the 1958 team on the uniforms,

  • Inclusion of the 1958 team members in this year's bowl team photo, and

  • A statement from the Governor of New York that was read during the broadcast.

Its worth noting that the University of Connecticut also had the same opportunity for institutional publicity. They used their 60 seconds in two PSA's to focus on the idea of being a lifelong fan of UConn in a piece that was obviously aimed at alumni. While it likely resonated with them, it didn't take advantage of a chance to educate them about the positive public service that UConn is certainly also performing.

Buffalo Athletic Director Warde Manuel should again be commended for bringing his vision and experience to bear in Buffalo's first bowl appearance to provide memorable and positive exposure for the entire University and the athletic program, regardless of the final score.

- ultimatesportsinsider.com

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