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The long story about The Space bow tie

JB BTIn July 2012, Jeremy Boeh, a former Army combat soldier and Wofford student, participated in The Institute, a four-week summer program in The Space in which students perform consulting projects for businesses to gain professional experience prior to graduation.

The experience was unlike anything he’d encountered, Boeh says, and he found himself looking for a way to describe it. He coined the term “bow tie official” and began using it when talking about what he was learning in The Institute.

“It started out as a nonsensical term,” he says. “I was really just goofing around. But being a student in The Space had a profound impact on me. I started out with one idea about myself and how I wanted to spend my life, and came out of The Institute on a completely different path. I wanted to take a symbol most people associate with a specific meaning and redefine it, like I have done for myself through Wofford and like The Space is changing the definition of college career development.”

Boeh says many people associate bow ties with old men, boring people or nerds. “I thought if I could get people to change the way they think about bow ties, I could get them to think about other ways they could change the world and maybe put in a plug for The Space.”

When The Institute finished, Boeh was offered a job by Scott Cochran, dean of The Space. As he began helping students develop social entrepreneurship projects and businesses through The Space’s Impact and Launch programs, Boeh used Twitter to publicize their successes, incorporating “bow tie official” into his tweets and using Twitter’s hashtag feature to mark it as a topic. He also began asking Wofford students and employees to wear bow ties on Tuesdays in support of The Space and its students.

“I had grandiose dreams that I could get the topic to eventually trend on Twitter,” Boeh confesses.

While popular on campus, “bow tie official” didn’t gain the following he hoped for. But it resonated with former NFL player Dhani Jones, who founded Bow Tie Cause, a company that makes bow ties to promote charitable causes, after donning a bow tie to support a friend with cancer.

After learning about Bow Tie Cause from a colleague, Boeh sent a tweet to Jones telling him about bow tie official and The Space. The two quickly struck a partnership to create a bow tie to help spread the word about The Space and Wofford College.

Want to know more about The Space and how it changed Jeremy’s life and changes the lives of students? Email or tweet at Jeremy, and he’ll be glad to tell you!