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Maroon and gold Fridays

Concordia deals and discounts encourage school spirit

Maddie Malat
Maddie Malat

The line at the Coffee Stop is long, even for 9 a.m. on a Friday. A cluster of Cobbers, many of them dressed in maroon and gold, stand chatting and staring at cell phones as they wait for their morning caffeine boost. At the front of the line are Concordia juniors Corinne Burrell and Lankin Tyll. Burrell wears a maroon three-quarter zip Concordia sweatshirt, while Tyll wears a T-shirt printed with the motto “It’s a Great Day to Be a Cobber.” Both order iced caramel macchiatos.

The two are taking part in Maroon and Gold Fridays, a campuswide initiative being implemented this semester. Just by wearing Concordia gear around campus, they can score exclusive deals at the bookstore, the Maize, Anderson Commons and yes, the Coffee Stop. “I think it’s a really smart initiative to get us wearing spirit gear,” Burrell said. “Especially because we all love sales.”

The idea originated last spring as part of a collaborative effort between the offices of Admissions and Communications and Marketing to increase Cobber spirit on campus.

“We’ve been through some interesting times as an institution, with having some cuts and different things,” said Amy Aasen, director of Communications and Marketing for Concordia and one of the driving forces behind the initiative. “We’re just worried, is there anything happening with morale?”

Last February, Concordia’s decision to discontinue majors such as classical studies, Latin, and French resulted in a barrage of criticism from both on- and off-campus. Protesters plastered the school with posters decrying the cuts. Students and alumni alike took to Twitter to proclaim that “Tensions are high. My heart goes out to those whose majors are being cut and to faculty losing jobs. This sucks, plain and simple,” and “#Cordmn gave up on the liberal arts… No longer my alma mater.”

In addition to the students already on campus and those long graduated, Admissions and Communications and Marketing had to think about how these sentiments would affect the decisions of prospective students.

“Our number one audience is prospective students,” Aasen said. “And we know that our employees and our current students are ambassadors for our institution.”

Aasen and her cohorts in Admissions began looking for ways to easily and organically foster a sense of unity on campus. They turned to institutions like Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota- Crookston, both of which already had days of the week dedicated to school pride, for inspiration.

“As a prospective student, you’re going to look around campus and see what campus is like,” said Ashley Thompson, Admissions representative. “We’re always talking about the ‘Concordia Community.’ That’s one of our biggest selling points. … Having everybody wearing that maroon and gold is a good way to show that off.”

This summer, they reached out to Dining Services and the Cobber Bookstore to help sweeten the deal. The departments worked together to come up with a number of incentives, which will undergo a sort of “trial run” this semester: 50 percent off the cash price of Anderson Commons from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 89 cent fountain drinks in the Maize, $1 off any iced or blended drink (excluding plain iced coffee) at the Coffee Stop, and 20 percent off of apparel and clearance items in the bookstore.

Items that qualify for these discounts include clothing, hats, and scarves that represent Concordia College. Pins, jewelry, lanyards, gloves, socks and underwear are not included.

In its first few weeks, Maroon and Gold Fridays has been met with great enthusiasm. PJ Hines has been the director of the Cobber bookstore for 23 years — and in those years, she said, the bookstore has never offered a storewide clothing sale until after Homecoming.

“This has been fun because we’re able to offer at least a discount on the entire clothing category of the store every Friday,” Hines said. “It’s giving students a chance to enhance their Cobber closet before Homecoming.”

Hines has noticed an increase in foot traffic not just on Fridays, but on Thursdays as well. Some students come in to “preview shop,” selecting the items they want so they can purchase them at a discounted price on Friday. Others purchase clothing items on Thursday so that they will have something to wear for Maroon and Gold Fridays.

Unlike the Coffee Stop and the Maize, where customers must wear Cobber gear to receive a discount, the bookstore will extend the offer to everyone for the first year.

“We just want it to be as open and as broad as it can be to get excitement for the campus and kind of build a following for Maroon and Gold Fridays,” Hines said.

And Maroon and Gold Fridays are not just for students; many faculty and staff, including Aasen and Thompson, have taken advantage of the discounted prices in Anderson Commons.

“[Students] see that those of us who work at the college are proud of where we work, and we’re excited about what we do,” Aasen said. “Ultimately, our goal is for students to have a wonderful experience and a great education, to really enjoy their time here, and when they see that the entire campus is feeling that, everybody is lifted a little bit.

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