In response: “In opposition of blue turf in Oneota Valley”

Cory Wirth (‘18)

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I want to start out by saying that I appreciated Professor Faldet’s article, “In opposition of blue turf in Oneota Valley,” which was published in Chips on April 13. I think that his concerns are genuine, and his passion for Luther College is evident. I also know that he isn’t alone in his thinking. However, I believe that blue turf in Oneota Valley would be a great asset to Luther College, and I feel as if much of the reluctance across campus stems from a general misunderstanding of the situation. My goal in this letter is not to undermine the opinion of Professor Faldet and those who share his beliefs. Rather, my goal is to provide a better understanding of the blue turf and give a few reasons why it would be a great addition to the college.

Many people are under the impression that we plan to drop a big, blue carpet bomb in Oneota Valley without any rhyme or reason. I can assure you this is not the case. A lot of time was allocated towards the design of the field to ensure that it does nothing but enhance the signature view of the valley. The field will look sharp and will not be entirely blue. The plan is to have a norse head in the middle, white endzones with “LUTHER” and “NORSE” lettering, and green turf that completely surrounds the field of play. The playing surface will be the only area with blue turf. Green field borders were intentionally designed so that the blue field will not clash with the blue track. This will give Carlson Stadium an awesome new look.

The turf was also designed to be compatible with the sustainable mission of Luther College. The pellets on the turf field will be made from eco-friendly plastic granules, as opposed to the traditional ground up rubber tire. This is the most sustainable option and it’s the same turf that one of our rivals, St. Olaf, installed last year.

100 percent of the funding for the turf field is coming from generous donors who are committed to the betterment of Luther College athletics. When our development office set out on their mission to get donors for the turf field, blue was only an option and not something that was set in stone. Many of the donors loved the idea of blue turf and after giving it some thought, Head Football Coach Hafner decided that it was a great idea. With administrative and donor support of blue turf, the development office’s approach shifted towards completing the project. Many alumns and friends of Luther College have donated generously to make this project a reality and they are extremely excited about it. How can we undermine these donors by spending their money in a way that was not agreed upon? We can’t and we shouldn’t.

I think the hysteria surrounding the blue turf is causing some people to underestimate its marketability. Many students and faculty on campus are familiar with Seth Godin’s famous marketing book, “Purple Cow,” which is about coming up with a product or service (a “purple cow”) that sticks out and is worth talking about. Blue turf is our “purple cow”. Green turf doesn’t have the “wow” factor, and it isn’t the topic of discussion at the dinner table, but blue turf is.

There is no doubt in my mind that blue turf will help the Luther football program with recruiting, but I also think it will help the entire college with recruiting. A blue turf field has the ability to put Luther on the map in a way that it has never been before. Professor Faldet even mentioned a very important impact that blue turf had for Boise State: a “sizable boost in applications” to the school. In a time where reduced enrollment is keeping all upperclassmen on campus and leading to cuts of cherished programs, I see this as a great opportunity to potentially do something about it — to recruit a larger, more diverse student body. The “purple cow” worked at Boise State, and I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t work here.

In my three years as a student-athlete, I’ve grown a special kind of appreciation for Luther College. I want nothing but the best for the Luther community and I firmly believe that blue turf will be a great asset to the valley. However, the only way that it can become the asset that I envision it to be is if the Luther community buys into it. So I ask that you acknowledge the benefits of blue turf and buy into it. If you can get yourself to buy in, I guarantee that when you finally get the chance to look out into the valley at a blue turf field, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.   



Cory Wirth (‘18)

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