'Together We Are One' Campaign Out to Reinforce Community's Uniqueness
Whether it's a pin, a banner hanging downtown or a sign in the window of a local business, the Centre Region has noticed the slogan, "Together We Are One."
The "Together We Are One" campaign is the brainchild of State College business owners and is an effort orchestrated by the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, headed by CBICC CEO and president Vern Squier.
The campaign has moved forward quickly, snowballing in to a community-wide effort as it continues to generate interest after its inception less than a month ago.
David Nevins, campaign spokesman, described the emotions and intentions of a group of concerned business leaders who decided to take on the storytelling of the Centre Region. Their efforts are opening the door for Penn State students, alumni and anyone who feels an allegiance to State College and Penn State to define themselves, their school and a place that they may still or once called home.
"We are defined by much more than this one incident," Nevins said. "We all recognize the significance of the Sandusky incident and surrounding events and our hearts go out to the victims – that's part of 'Together We Are One.'
"It's never forgetting what happened and doing everything we can going forward to create the level of transparency and the processes to ensure that something like that will never happen again."
Every corner of the community is represented in through the campaign, Nevins said, with representatives from the Penn State Alumni Association, the university, the athletic department, social service agencies in the area and individual citizens.
"This has impacted the collective conscious of community and sort of shocked us ... we're all very proud of this community," Nevins said. "The first step is to awaken everyone to the fact that this is and always will be a great university.
"We simply cannot let the media define who we are. We are inviting the world to comes see us for who we are," he said.
"Together We Are One" was launched before the first football weekend so anyone who travels to State College for the game or even heads downtown can get a sense of what the campaign is all about.
Posters and signs have been hung and some 20,000 pins with the campaign's name are being handed out around the downtown.
Nevins said the community instantly responded positively to "Together We Are One."
"It just happened spontaneously, it was amazing. People are looking to reinforce what they already knew," Nevins said. "This is just a very special place with very special people."
Nevins said an attribute of local business leaders leading the charge is their experience in dealing with adversity and having to overcome obstacles. A major part of the campaign, too, is engaging students.
"The students are a big part of whole thing ... it's been forgotten they weren't involved in this (tragedy)
"We're reaching out to them to let them know that this is a great university, that should be proud of it and we want them to engage us in this message.
"I've already seen student groups forming that are expressing the compassion and understanding for the true victims in this, and that's abused children," Nevins said.
"Together We Are One" will soon launch a formal fundraising campaign, with hopes to eventually distribute a percentage of the funds toward social service agencies within the region.
You can join in and follow the "Together We Are One" effort via its digital media presence: https://twitter.com/together_weare1, https://www.facebook.com/togetherweare1 or its website: http://www.togetherweare1.org