Language and Messaging

We are Santa Fe College (SF).

Prior to 2009, we were Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). When we started offering Bachelor's degrees, that changed. At that point, we became Santa Fe College, and our official abbreviation became SF.

We are Santa Fe College or SF. We are not SFC, SFCC, Santa Fe or SF College.

  • When posting on social media, it is acceptable to use the hashtag #SFCollege.
  • SF Athletics occasionally uses Santa Fe Saints.

So unless you are using a hashtag or referring to an athletic team, stick with Santa Fe College or SF!


The writing style for the college is consistent with its mission. If you want to add value to the lives of our students, choose words that are accurate, clear and concise. If you want to enrich our community, be inclusive.

Specific instructions for commonly misused words and phrases can be found in the A-Z style guide in the Toolkit section of this Brand Guide. What follows are general rules to help you better represent the mission of the college with your writing:

Be Accurate

  • Adjectives – When describing the college, it's important to be accurate. In official publications, use adjectives that are supported by data, not personal feelings. Example: Instead of "The spring musical is amazing, it features very talented students who are sure to be famous someday," say, "The spring musical is the final performance of the academic year. It highlights students from our music, theater and dance departments."
  • Numbers – Always check with someone from Institutional Research before publishing or reprinting anything that represents data at the college. This includes stating that we are No. 1 in the nation. The college earned that designation for 2015-2016. It is not accurate to continue using that statement without appropriate context.

Be Clear

  • Plain language – Yes, this is a college. Yes, we are here to educate. But if students don't understand what you're talking about, we have a problem. If you are giving instructions, make sure they are easy for anyone to follow. Be mindful that we serve international students and students on the autism spectrum. Both of these populations can have difficulties with abstract language like idioms or sarcasm. When in doubt – say what you mean and mean what you say.

Be Concise

  • Action verbs – Begin instructions with action verbs. Examples: Go to the Records Office. Schedule an appointment with your advisor. Visit our website.
  • Attention span – Get to the point!
  • Sustainability – Save trees and the college budget. Use text sparingly in print, pointing readers to the website for more information.

Be Inclusive

  • Acronyms – Unfamiliar acronyms can make people feel like outsiders. Spell out full names on the first instance. Then if there is an acronym, let it follow in parentheses. At second mention, it's okay to use either the acronym or a lowercase word that references the full phrase. Example: Welcome to the Institute for Public Safety (IPS). Notice it can be referred to as IPS or the institute that is housed at the Kirkpatrick Center.
  • All caps – Tempting though it may be to bypass uncertainties about correct capitalization, don't use all capital letters to write words, not unless they are acronyms. Assistive technologies like screen readers will interpret these as letters, not words. So, "trouble" is fine. But if you write "TROUBLE," your low vision audience will hear "T-R-O-U-B-L-E."
  • Clickable links – When presenting a navigation option in digital mediums – website, social media, email or notifications – offer more description than "Click here." Not only is it vague, it can be an obstruction for people using assistive technologies. Describe where you are suggesting someone go. Example: For more information about formatting and accessibility, visit the Website Guidelines page of this Brand Guide. Similarly, when using "mailto:" links, show the actual email address you are linking to. (e.g. "Email" is preferable to "email Communications").
  • Describing people – We are a college represented by many diverse populations. Most of the time in our written communications, it is unnecessary to draw attention to which individuals are people of color, people with disabilities, or people who identify as LGBTQ. When we do describe differences between individuals or groups of people, we need to do so with sensitivity, deferring to their preference. The National Center on Disability and Journalism is a helpful resource.