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Published November 08, 2021
The University of Wyoming has launched the next phase of its “The World Needs More Cowboys” marketing campaign, including a new anthem video that highlights the attributes of UW students, employees, alumni and supporters.
The new “I Am a Cowboy” video, which may be viewed here, builds on the themes of the university’s award-winning “The World Needs More Cowboys” video launched in 2018. The original video -- which took the university’s boldest asset and modernized it to reflect today’s challenges -- has been viewed millions of times.
“We hit a home run with the first video, which drew upon Wyoming’s proud heritage and redefined what it means to be a Cowboy in this day and age, distilling it down to the inner spirit of curiosity and boldness that all who call themselves Cowboys and Cowgirls can identify with -- no matter their race or gender, or whether they’re students, employees, alumni or other supporters,” says Chad Baldwin, UW associate vice president for marketing and communications. “The new video is in the same spirit, highlighting an inclusive community composed of curious, courageous, authentic individuals who are optimists, risk-takers and adventure-seekers. The pandemic made it impossible to shoot and produce the video as planned in 2020, so we’re delighted to finally be able to launch it now.”
The new video features three UW community members -- an undergraduate student, a graduate student and an employee -- who exemplify those characteristics and other attributes.
-- Nataly Beacham, a molecular biology major scheduled to graduate in 2023, says the original campaign video is the reason she decided to attend UW. The Georgia native, who lived in Colombia until the age of 5, was accepted to and planning to attend a university on the East Coast when she saw the video on social media. It caused her to change her plans and enroll at UW.
“I had never really ever heard of Wyoming before. Of course, I knew it was a state, but I had no connections here and I never saw myself here, much less going to school here as well,” Beacham says. “I think it may have been the music, but I felt very drawn to the images (the video) showed. It made me think that there is so much out there to explore that I hadn’t seen and that this might just give me the opportunity to do so and more. So, that same day I applied and, after receiving my acceptance about a week later, I committed to attend that same day.”
Beacham, who is minoring in neuroscience and honors while also pursuing a certificate in American Sign Language, aims to become a physician assistant. She co-chairs UW’s Multicultural Council and has been active in other student organizations.
“Often, when people ask me about my personal experience at the university, I have to first share the difficulties that I faced when I first arrived. Coming to Wyoming from out of state and as a person of color was uncomfortable at times because of the differences in culture and people,” Beacham says. “However, as I was able to make relationships and gain my footing, I realized that there was a reason I was here, and I gave myself space for self-reflection. I realized that there was a lot I could do and a lot of opportunities I could pursue, all while learning more about myself, which is more valuable in the long run.
“I would say that the word ‘Cowboy’ and becoming one as a student have brought me some of the best people, relationships and opportunities that I am sure would not have been presented otherwise,” she adds. “Being a Cowboy has allowed me to truly reflect on not only the person I was and am, but the person I want to become.”
-- Dionté George, a second-year student in the music performance master’s program, came to UW after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Southern Arkansas University. He describes his UW experience as “very fun, memorable and inspiring.”
A saxophonist from Paris, Texas, George decided to attend UW after a visit to Southern Arkansas by UW Professor Scott Turpen, a renowned classical and jazz saxophonist.
“When it comes to music, I’m always trying to figure out what else is out there and how I can use it to express myself, as well as put my own creative spin on it,” says George, who performed recently with the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. “While I’m focusing more on jazz, I’m still able to participate in classical ensembles such as wind symphony and saxophone quartet.”
Turpen says George is particularly adept at digital recording technologies, which helps him be in tune and engaged with the undergraduate students he teaches. When in-person concerts were shuttered during the pandemic, George found ways to share music with others digitally.
What does the word “Cowboy” mean to him?
“When I first came here, I would say hard-working and resilient,” George says. “After attending (UW), I also would add optimistic to the list.”
-- Dave Denniston, UW’s head swimming and diving coach since 2017, is a Wyoming native who won three individual NCAA swimming championships at Auburn University. He finished fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke and fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004, and qualified for the U.S. 2003 World Championships team, before being paralyzed in a 2005 sledding accident in the Snowy Range.
He went on to qualify for the 2008 Paralympic Games. He was awarded the NCAA Inspiration Award in 2007, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration Award in 2009, and the James R. Flowers Coach of the Year Award in 2012 while coach of the U.S. Paralympic team.
“In a world struggling to find life balance, Laramie offers everything I could ask for. If you want strong academics, it’s here. If you love sports, it’s here. If you want amazing, lifelong friends, they’re here. If you love to play outside … pick a direction. Laramie, for me, has it all,” Denniston says. “I rely on the people around me and the community to get where I am as the head coach of the swimming and diving team. UW reflects that reliable sense of community more than any place I have ever lived. Being around good people who genuinely want the best for each other is hard to find in this world, unless you live in Laramie, Wyoming.”
What does “Cowboy” mean to him?
“It means making the most out of whatever life hands you. If you are willing to work hard, face fears and follow a plan, you can accomplish about anything you want in life,” Denniston says. “Our brains are the biggest gift we are given in this world. To train it through higher education, and then use it, gives you a sense of confidence and ability that is difficult to come by in any other way. I sustained a spinal cord injury in 2005, but my brain and the education I’ve received have allowed me to live an amazing life and influence thousands of people.”
Additional “I Am a Cowboy” videos are planned in coming months, featuring individuals who exemplify the characteristics of UW Cowboys and President Ed Seidel’s four pillars emphasizing digital literacy, entrepreneurism, interdisciplinarity and diversity/inclusion.
“The campaign continues with the premise that a modern Cowboy can be anyone. As we always say, it isn’t what you are that makes you a UW Cowboy, but who you are,” Baldwin says.
“The World Needs More Cowboys” will continue to be used in UW’s campaign, along with subtaglines including:
-- “The World Needs More Relentless Curiosity.”
-- “The World Needs More Unbendable Optimism.”
-- “The World Needs More Outside Thinkers.”
-- “The World Needs More Fearless Independence.”
-- “The World Needs More Unyielding Courage.”
-- “Bucking the System Since 1886.”
-- “Epically Innovative Since 1886.”
-- “Strongly Resilient Since 1886.”
The new video is being used in advertising on various digital channels to reach prospective students and parents in key target market regions, as well as traditional media inside and outside Wyoming.
“The World Needs More Cowboys” has resulted in an increase in the number of prospective student inquiries tied to UW advertising; generated national and international news coverage estimated to have a value of $6.1 million; helped drive an increase in annual giving; and created dozens of merchandising opportunities for UW licensees and university entities.