The importance of showing Huskie pride with your clothes

Lauren Stott

When I first started college at NIU, an older student remarked to me, “I hate when I see students on campus wearing shirts from other colleges.”

At the time I didn’t understand his disgust. A shirt’s a shirt, who cares what students are wearing?

Four years later, though, I remember his words and I agree with him.

It may have something to do with the amount of time I have been a student here.

It’s taken a while for me to recognize the identity crisis that so many students here seem to be going through.

They choose to attend NIU and become a part of Huskie Nation, but they still wear sweats to class emblazoned with Florida Gators, Arizona Sun Devils and the ever-present Chief Illiniwek.

A person’s alma mater should be a point of pride and sporting another school’s colors is a betrayal not only to the school but to fellow students who share the identity.

It may seem insignificant, but lack of pride can lead to the detriment of attitude, enthusiasm and the overall atmosphere of the community.

Some NIU departments have recognized this contagious problem and the effect it has on the overall campus attitude.

According to John Jones, associate vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, members of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Intercollegiate Athletics and Student Affairs and Enrollment Management began a campaign to trade brand new NIU sweatshirts for ones students are wearing on campus that sport other logos. This small gesture speaks loudly, saying “if you call yourself a Huskie, start dressing like one.”

“The students [were] incredibly receptive and were excited to see campus members promoting school spirit,” Jones said. “All that participated with this sweatshirt exchange program had nothing but positive things to report.”

There are some seriously deep issues regarding student pride, community involvement and uncaring attitudes that contribute to a bad atmosphere. They require an attitude adjustment and attention from student, administrative and community leaders.

Changing your clothes, however, does not require much. Students should make a conscious effort to sport Huskie gear on campus and they might find themselves slightly more proud to be NIU students, not Illini wannabes.