TAMPA — There will be some friendly sparring among attorneys and staff at Forizs-Dogali law office this Friday.
But it will be for fun as the firm at 4301 Anchor Plaza Parkway is among businesses across Tampa and the nation celebrating College Colors Day. The observance encourages people to wear apparel of their favorite college or university throughout the day.
Chelsea Nicoletti, the firm’s business development coordinator, said attorneys and paralegals are encouraged to wear shirts in the school colors and/or with logos of any school they attended or their favorite college team.
Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators were the most popular last year, she said.
“It’s always fun to see what happens,” especially with UF and FSU supporters razzing each other, said Nicoletti, a University of Oklahoma graduate who will wear an Oklahoma shirt and expects to see ones from Notre Dame and Duke at least.
“It’s a good way to dress down, wear jeans and open up some fun dialogues,” she said.
Tim Hawks, senior director of brand marketing for College Colors Day, said, “When we started in 2005, it was a grassroots effort,” by the company that oversees licensing agreements between schools, manufacturers and retailers.
Now more than 30 national and regional retailers participate in the promotion, organized by the Collegiate Licensing Company. Many colleges, universities, private businesses and government agencies are now observing the day, Hawks said.
For the second year in a row, the celebration includes a national Spirit Cup award, and organizers will award $10,000 to a school’s general scholarship fund. One hundred and sixty schools are competing in the contest, which ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. The winner is announced the following day.
“It’s always on the Friday before college football starts; everyone is excited and feeling good about their team. And every school is undefeated,” Hawks said.
“It is really nationwide, but is embraced most in the Southeast and Midwest, those areas where collegiate athletics are really embraced,” he added.
Hawks said the observance, which coincides with back-to-school, is not only to build awareness of colleges and their licensed clothes and merchandise, but to raise awareness of the importance of higher education in young children.
The Hillsborough County Tax Collectors Office is one government agency participating. For the last couple of years they’ve taken part, but this year, an email to all 325 employees in the main and branch offices encouraged them to participate.
Nancy Millan, the office’s director of community relations, said it was “an incentive for employees to have a casual day” by wearing the colors of their alma mater or favorite college team.
The University of Tampa is participating for the first time this year, said Eric Cardenas, the school’s director of public information.
“We are starting small. We are urging the campus to wear the UT colors and apparel,” he said. “Those students who dress in shirts can win special discounts and giveaways. And for staff and faculty with the most school spirit, we will give little prizes.”
The school also will have an Instagram contest and offer Videogram posting.
“It’s all about increasing school spirit on campus,” Cardenas said.
Hawks said he expects the observance of the day to continue to grow as more businesses get involved and more incentives are added.
“Our goal is to become the level of a St. Patrick’s Day or a Valentine’s Day,” Hawks said.
For information about College Colors Day, see www.collegecolorsday.com.