Saturday, August 06, 2005

Vocabulary III -- What's a "Main campus?" How about a "satellite campus?"

I just found a church website that advertised a service at their "satellite campus."

That language communicates two things. One location is more important than the other. One location is the mother ship and the other orbits it. The opposite would be a statement about a "main" campus, in effect saying, "our most important location."

The other thing in communicates is that it is big. I remember from college that a campus is a big place. My high school didn't have a campus. We had a building. A campus at college went sprawling for acres. If you want to communicate bigness then "campus" works. If you think smallness might be an asset then don't use "campus".

We've chosen to use neither "main" nor "campus". Our choice not to use main has led to the non-determinative designation of the first location as "Riverfalls." We need to call it something. But it isn't main. We've chosen to call our sites "locations" because we think smallness will be a virtue in our community. And, in the future when we are renting space somewhere we won't have any kind of campus.


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