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College Friday offers perks while raising awareness

If you have been itching to pull your college alma mater sweatsuit out of the closet, here is your chance.

Gov. Hickenlooper declared April 6 as College Friday, a day when individuals are encouraged to flaunt school colors at school, work, and even the grocery store.

There is more to College Friday than fashion, however. The day is meant to raise awareness about the importance of higher education. In a state like Colorado, which consistently ranks among the top 5 in the country for greatest number of degree holders per capita, organizers of the event are expecting around 150,000 people to participate.

Despite the high number of degree-holders in the state of Colorado, students coming up through the Colorado school systems are often not the ones getting these degrees. Only one in five high school freshmen in Colorado will earn a college degree, a rate so low that it puts Colorado in the bottom 25% of the nation.

From its start in 2006, College Friday organizers are hoping the event can help raise Colorado’s college graduation rate.

“By 2018 67% of jobs in Colorado will require a postsecondary education.” said Dawn Taylor Owens, executive director of College In Colorado. “Now more than ever is the time for our Colorado students to continue their education beyond high school. As a community, we need to remind our Colorado students that higher education is tangible and that we are supporting their future dreams. College Friday is a fun and easy way to open the door to the conversation about pursuing higher education.”

The fun begins with incentives given by businesses for individuals wearing college gear. Participants do not have to wear their own college’s colors and can instead choose the gear of another favorite school.

Highlights this year for wearing college gear include:

  • Free chips and queso at participating Qdoba restaurants
  • Free “like-it” sized ice cream at participating Cold Stone Creamery restaurants between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  • Free ice cream or coffee at IKEA
  • Waived application fees for CSU’s Global Campus

Keep in mind that you have to wear your gear to the restaurant to get the reward. For more information on College Friday, including more prizes and incentives, visit www.CollegeInColorado.org.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.