GOFFSTOWN, N.H. (AP) – You might call it Men in Black III: Same Monks, New Image.

Saint Anselm College is getting attention, and maybe some new students, by portraying its faculty of Benedictine monks as really cool guys.

One brochure for the liberal arts college features five black-robed monks in dark sunglasses, striking poses inspired by Men in Black movie posters. Inside are brief biographical details, including a note that Brother Andrew’s favorite movie is “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.”

Since the college began the campaign last year, visits to its Web site have increased. Enrollment has been steadily increasing for several years, passing the 3,000 mark for the first time last year.

It may be going too far to attribute the recruitment success to the campaign, said Tracy Sweet, the college’s assistant vice president for public relations.

“It certainly hasn’t hurt us,” Sweet said.

Besides the brochure, the college’s marketing staff has churned out photos of monks making snow angels and sliding down snowy hills in their robes. Another campaign featured a monk in hockey goalie equipment, promoting the college’s new ice rink.

The college had struggled to explain its Benedictine ideals to prospective students, said Anne Botteri, Sweet’s predecessor, who came up with the Men in Black brochure idea.

The monks are “absolutely fundamental to our identity,” said Botteri, who is now the executive director of the college’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

“I think sometimes you can get an image in your head of what a monk is, and if you haven’t been around monks, you might view it as a medieval phenomenon. And it’s not.

“Monks are very learned men, doing very modern things, engaged, with a very modern attitude. We used humor to make that point.”

Botteri said the toughest part was choosing which five monks to feature.

She said when she asked them to pose, “not one of them even hesitated.”

AP-ES-05-12-03 1733EDT



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