Do college and university scarves promote a sense of belonging?
In the UK, college and university scarves have long been a staple of educational institutions, particularly older ones. In fact, college scarves in the UK date back centuries, apparently first being introduced to distinguish students from Oxford and Cambridge during the annual ‘Boat Race’ that takes place between rowers from the two universities.
Today, school scarves have been adopted by schools, colleges, and universities across the country. In part, more prestigious schools and universities may be attempting to mimic the cultures and traditions of those two most prestigious universities, but there’s no doubt that college and university scarves also improve the sense of identity and belonging that students at certain institutions feel.
The importance of feeling at home
Promoting a sense of belonging and identity should be a top priority for all management teams working in educational institutions. It’s widely accepted that a strong sense of belonging has a positive effect on students’ motivation, success, and wellbeing. Students who belong feel pride in their school and pride in their work, and they’re also less distracted by outside concerns and less likely to be feeling unhappy or mentally stressed.
By introducing a university scarf, you can encourage your students to feel pride in their school, as well as promoting the feeling of kinship with their fellow students. Nothing is more important to teenagers and young adults than fitting in with their peers, and school scarves provide a simple and cost-effective way to enable students to do this while supporting their school at the same time.
Don’t school scarves promote rivalries?
A healthy rivalry with another school isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just as in the example of Oxford and Cambridge students taking pride in their schools at the annual Boat Race, schools can use scarves and other branded clothing to show support for sports teams and other extra-curricular groups at inter-school events. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing: it can encourage improved relationships between students both inside and outside of the school, and even spark a point of conversation with students from other institutions.
Should you introduce a college scarf in your school?
If your school or college doesn’t already have its own school scarf, introducing one can be a simple way to encourage unity and pride among the students. The colours of a school scarf can be chosen based on the school’s logo and uniform, and students themselves will appreciate the investment that an institution is making by developing and designing scarves for them.
The importance of choice
One point that schools may want to consider when introducing branded scarves and other accessories is to bear in mind the ultimate goals of introducing such items in the first place. If you’re introducing scarves to promote happiness and pride within students, it’s important to allow your students the freedom to choose whether or not they wear a college scarf themselves.
Insisting upon mandatory uniform accessories which aren’t really necessary isn’t usually beneficial to the overall psychology and wellbeing of the student body. A better way to encourage students to buy and wear scarves is to promote them at sporting events and on similar occasions when a school scarf might be beneficial to encourage a sense of belonging.