Flinders Uni’s golden opportunity amid big merger

After weeks of headlines about a merger of the University of Adelaide and UniSA, Adelaide’s third university is fighting for its own place in the sun – with the help of giant gold boxes.

Jul 14, 2023, updated Jul 14, 2023
Flinders University launches its gold box campaign in Rundle Mall. Photo: supplied

Flinders University launches its gold box campaign in Rundle Mall. Photo: supplied

Flinders University has launched a two-week campaign spruiking its “fearless” marketing catchphrase by building two gold boxes and enlisting a line-up of well-credentialled speakers to pop inside for chats to passers-by.

Among the list of names preparing to meet and greet is Adelaide United soccer player Josh Cavallo, body positive advocate and Australian of the year Taryn Brumfitt and pioneering legal education professor Tania Leiman.

The boxes are sited in Rundle Mall and Adelaide Railway Station, with Flinders University saying guest speakers will “share invaluable advice and insights to help South Aussies find their fearless”.

When not housing a speaker during allotted times, the boxes will be lit up at might with a QR code on the side linking users to further university information.

Flinders University chief marketing officer Bev Bury says  the campaign is helping publicise the opening of Flinders University’s new Festival Plaza campus, which will bring the southern suburb-based institution into the city from January.

“The campaign in its entirety has been in market for a few months, this particular activation we have been working on it for a couple of weeks,” Bury said.

“It’s been a quick turnaround as it’s a great opportunity to be in the Rundle Mall during the school holidays and during the Illuminate Festival.”

The campaign follows the agreement nearly two weeks ago to merge the University of SA and University of Adelaide.

Flinders University vice chancellor Professor Colin Stirling declared the move a significant milestone for the higher education sector “with the new entity to complement the existing strengths of Flinders University”.

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Adelaide University’s vice-chancellor said that Flinders University had been invited to join merger discussions but Flinders management had expressed “no interest”.

At the time, Stirling sent an email to staff saying the university had “not been party to any merger discussions”.

“We are a strong and distinctive institution with an enviable reputation as an innovator,” he wrote.

In his more recent comments following the merger announcement, Stirling wished the universities well “as they embark on the complex task of delivering the merger by 2026”.

“While Flinders remains focused on implementing the strategy that has delivered significant success in recent years, we also remain committed to ensuring the university sector is strong, internationally competitive, and offers distinctive choices for students wishing to study in South Australia,” Stirling said.

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