University announces new brand campaign “Challenge Accepted” to replace “WONK”

New campaign will highlight University community members’ roles in global problem-solving, reshaping higher education

University announces new brand campaign “Challenge Accepted” to replace “WONK”
Students flock to the quad in 80 degree weather on April 6.

President Sylvia Burwell announced American University’s new brand campaign, “Challenge Accepted,” Monday, which will replace the previous WONK campaign and focus on spotlighting stories of individual members of the AU community. 

The stories will focus on current students, alumni and faculty who have faced major challenges or who are leading conversations and actions that will shape the future, Burwell wrote. 

“Challenge Accepted” was developed as part of the administration’s five-year strategic plan, “Changemakers for a Changing World,” which focuses on enhancing the University experience by developing imperatives to improve the school based on the three themes of scholarship, learning and community, Burwell wrote.

In a student media briefing on April 8, Chief Communications Officer Matt Bennett said that AU will focus on the role it can play in the changing landscape of higher education and the ways it is meeting the challenges faced by students, faculty and staff. 

Burwell also wrote that the brand would be represented both online and on campus through further incorporation of the color purple into University-related imagery. While the University’s school colors will remain red and blue, Burwell wrote that this pivot toward the blend of both colors is meant to symbolize the campaign’s mission of finding “common ground and a vision for solutions to the issues confronting us.” 

According to Bennett, “Challenge Accepted” will stress the idea that “life happens in the purple.”

Monday’s email included some early elements of rebranding, including a new “Challenge Accepted” website and brand video. At the student media briefing, Bennett announced that the University’s shuttles will be rewrapped for the fall semester.

The previous WONK campaign was launched in 2011 to underscore the University’s focus on uplifting students and other community members who would be “passionate about creating meaningful change in the world.” 

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.