Walking around the sidewalks, streets, and corridors of campus, there is a lot of blue, red, purple, and black clothing, but very little green and gold. It’s not uncommon to see students repping the colors, logos, and mascots of other universities. But as a student body with little school spirit, should we be encouraged to separate ourselves from our own school colors? Would our spirit increase if more people decided to wear USF hoodies and T-shirts?
As a staff, we’d argue that because so much of the University’s advertising promotes San Francisco and not USF itself (exhibit A: the heavily used slogan, “University of the Best City Ever”), it’s completely understandable that students wear merchandise from different colleges rather than having wardrobes filled with Dons gear. If students are coming to USF primarily for its location, then it makes sense why few people wear the school’s apparel. Additionally, universities where most students live on campus tend to foster a greater sense of school spirit, encouraging more people to want to look the part.
For many people, wearing a piece of other college merch fosters a connection to home. Wearing a hoodie from your parents’, brother’s, sister’s, or best friend’s school is a nice way to support them and think of them, especially if you’re far from home. Typically, wearing gear from another school isn’t a dig at the USF, but rather just a way of showing support for loved ones. Besides, college merchandise is expensive, so if you’ve purchased or been gifted something, it just makes sense to wear it.
Part of the reason that students don’t tend to wear a lot of USF gear could be that we don’t have a football team, and in general, we tend not to rally around other sports as much as at other schools. If we hyped up our athletics teams or our school in general, perhaps students would feel more inclined to don their green and gold. But a handful of us actually enjoy the lack of a football team and overall tailgating-dependent enthusiasm. Additionally, there isn’t a large eagerness to cheer for the Dons or dress up to post cute pictures on Instagram because for many, it’s hard to want to display that when their minds are occupied with other things, such as the stress of affording school. (Not to mention the problematic, conquistadorial connotation of the Don as a mascot, but we’ll save that for another piece.)
If we hyped up our athletics teams or our school in general, perhaps students would feel more inclined to don their green and gold.
Apart from blatantly wearing school colors or cheering “Go Dons,” there are many other ways students can show their school spirit, such as through broadcasting their various achievements at the University. Many students at USF are more focused on their future careers and life in the city, with less time to focus on school spirit and events.
While it would be nice for new students to be passionate about repping USF, the variety of homes, colors, and logos add to the mosaic of USF and offer more authenticity than a class of students repping gear of a school they care little about.