There are times when it may not be appropriate to wear the attire of another university while on your campus.
It is a universal phenomenon for college students: you have an 8 a.m. class, so you throw on the first sweatshirt that you see, and head out the door.
But what happens if that sweatshirt is one from another university?
Having school spirit is an important part of the college experience and is prevalent in nearly everything — from attending sporting events and club meetings to fraternity parties and sitting on the quad. However, there are times when it may not be appropriate to wear the attire of another university while on your campus.
Building a collection of sweatshirts from colleges that you visited or applied to can be an extremely rewarding way to commemorate the college application process and honor the schools that were at the top of your list.
You may also receive sweatshirts as gifts from friends at other schools.
But picking best time and place to wear them can be tricky.
So is wearing another school’s attire the college equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day or an insult to your school?
“You pay to attend a school, they don’t pay for you to promote it,” said Angela Almeida, a student at New York University (NYU). “It is just a choice of clothing. Wearing alternative jerseys on school campuses are a simple matter of clothing preference.”
But keep in mind that there may be particular instances when this fashion faux pas will resonate greater than other times. When your school is playing its rival football team, even the least sport-savvy may want to think a little harder about which sweatshirt to throw on to head to class.
And for schools with known rivals, it is even more important to remember not to wear the opposing university’s apparel around campus, or even in the surrounding college town, especially if the two schools are located in close proximity to each other.
But for others, wearing the attire of another university is less of a faux pas, and more a symbol of reverberating and fitting in to the larger community.
“It’s comforting to feel like you are part of a group, especially in a school that is so integrated within the city and the thousands of people in it,” said Emma Whitmyre, an NYU student. “Seeing people in NYU sweatshirts around the city encourages you to be social, for it would be much easier to approach someone wearing your college attire than in random clothes.”
Ultimately, the final call should be based upon a variety of factors.
Consider the type of school that you attend and its surrounding community. For schools in large cities, it may go more unnoticed, but for those in rural or suburban neighborhoods (or traditional college towns), you may want to steer clear of wearing the attire of other universities.
However, there is always some leeway.
For graduate students, wearing the sweatshirt from your different undergraduate university can be a great way to remember your time at that institution.
The most important thing is to have pride in your school while you enjoy your four years there.
“The college experience is an incredible time,” said Whitmyre. “And it is always nice to be reminded that others are sharing that with you.”
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