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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

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Collegiate Tip-of-the-Month: Vacations and Holidays

— Most universities have an extended Christmas/New Year break, and students often use that time not only to go home but also to travel hither and yon about the world. Why not take advantage of their travels to help build a sense of identity for your college? If your college has a coat of arms (which it should), and a tee shirt or other article of clothing that prominently displays the arms (which it should also), ask your students during the holiday break to have their pictures taken wearing their college insignia at famous, infamous, distant, or unusual landmarks around the world. Then when they return, create a permanent page on your college website for “Our College Around the World” photos. I did this for several years in Strong College, and you are most welcome to copy the simple Strong College Around the World format I created for the purpose.

I found it helpful to encourage the students each year to design the annual college tee shirt with the same recognizable front (a simple coat of arms), and then a different and creative back that could be chosen by open competition; that way there would be clear continuity from year to year in the photos. And I always held a few extra tee shirts in the College Office so that if a student came in and told me about an upcoming vacation I would offer a free tee shirt in exchange for incriminating photos of the college arms somewhere around the world. Among the photos on the Strong College page mentioned above, one still sends a tingle down my spine: the small and not terribly clear picture of the coat of arms that I designed being worn by a student alongside the columns of the Parthenon.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021