I’ve never seen anyone at my home university – The University of Technology Berlin – wearing a school shirt. Nor do I own one. I’m not even sure if we have school colors…
The US is different in that regard. Your school is the center of your live for at least four years. You go to Football games, you wear your school colors and you know the school songs. And it’s not awkward at all. Because your school is so much more than just the institution offering you education. They offer clubs for activities outside the class room, organize game nights and camp-outs, give you legal advise if you need it or counsel when you need help. For most US students it’s the first time they are away from home for an extended time, so the school has to take care for them and guide them through the beginning of adolescence.
So when I am wearing my Michigan colors I do so because I am proud. Proud that I was not only admitted to, but graduated from a university so prestigious that the President of the United States took the time to be my commencement speaker. Proud of having had so many chances of giving back as well.
I still watch College Football every Saturday and gather with friends or just some Alumni in a bar to cheer for our team. And hopefully I will make it to Ann Arbor again to watch a game live!
So it’s not too surprising that cell phones ring with school tones (like my boss’ does) or people wear their school ring with pride. And for some it even goes under the skin!