College Swag: Still the Best Ad for Higher Ed Marketing

Gray sweatshirt with Hartwick written across the chest.

Many people collect college swag while they’re earning their degrees. The question becomes what you keep! Do you still own any of your alma mater’s swag? A college sweatshirt, tee-shirt or lanyard, perhaps? A pen with your college name, or a notepad? A coffee mug with your college mascot? 

We definitely do- and we bet you do, too! 

Why We Keep Our College Swag

The reason why we keep our college swag is simple: emotional value. We keep items that remind us of happy times, experiences, and people. Your college sweatshirt might remind you of nights in the library or laughing in your dorm. Your lanyard might trigger memories of driving around your college town. Even just seeing your university colors can trigger happy memories! These items become attached to those happy memories, making them hard to part with and enjoyable to revisit.

Does College Swag Still Matter to Prospective Students?

One of our team members here at Velocity remembers the last day of their senior year in high school. On that day, every senior who would be attending college after graduation wore a tee-shirt, sweatshirt or some sort of clothing branded with the school they were attending that fall. They wore these campus names and slogans proudly, took pictures of themselves with friends and posted them online.

 All because of the pride and excitement of attending their selected universities. It was a tradition, but it was also free walking and digital advertising for these universities. 

So, does college swag still matter? Yes – college swag still matters. It lets the incoming and current students promote their pride for their university, their pride at being in college. For colleges and universities? It means spreading earned credibility and authority, with some free advertising in person and on social media. It can help you as a higher education institution overcome common marketing problems.


College swag isn't just for students anymore!


College Promotional Products – Not Just for Students!

The students aren’t the only ones that want to show school pride. Parents arguably are even more enthusiastic about adorning branded swag, either in the form of clothes or stickers and license plate frames for their cars. Their child got in! They want to celebrate, and because of that, the school benefits from free advertising. 

What we are exploring here is not the budgetary and strategic benefits of college swag, but the emotive drive consumers have for buying and repping college swag. There certainly are other benefits to advertising using college swag. Still, this one reason seems to get often overlooked in the business world.

Promo Products for Students = Pride & Free Advertising

Alumni, students, and parents all purchase college swag because they feel a connection to it- to the school, to happy memories, to pride. That feeling never goes away either. This is why we still have our college sweatshirts, no matter how old they are. It’s why you might still drink out of your alma mater’s mug. 

This is one of the best ways to advertise as a university – you’ll earn authority and credibility, get free word-of-mouth advertising, social media ads, and more. Take advantage of the benefits of college swag items and spread your school pride! 

Are you a higher education admissions officer or team member? Check out our promotional products catalog, with over 800,000 options to choose from! Find the perfect new promotional product for your students today. 

Need more help? Reach out to our higher education marketing team. We are happy to take questions!

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