Custom Hoodie Week has been held on a semesterly basis long enough to be considered a tradition at Algonquin College.
However, does the occasion still hold the same significance that it has in recent years, or has it lost its popularity due to the ongoing financial crisis facing students today?
According to Jennifer Maheral, the manager of course material services and retail procurement for Connections: The Campus Store, despite these turbulent times, sales have remained consistent across the board for all five events that she has overseen over the years.
Maheral said that even though production and material costs have increased significantly, prices have stayed the same for both students and alumni who are interested in partaking in the sale. The consistency in sales is seen not only in the semesterly sweater promotion but in overall product sales in the store, including the most popular product, the standard forest green Algonquin College sweater.
Aisha Al-Hajjar, a student in the animation program at the Ottawa campus, purchased three custom hoodies since starting her program, two of them being for her and the third gift for another student at the college.
Al-Hajjar is currently working at the Starbucks located in the Student Commons, giving her the ability and financial flexibility to purchase the pricier sweaters rather than buying the standard ones from the campus store for $39.99. Al-Hajjar said having a job at Starbucks is what gives her the ability to afford the pricier product and that if she wasn’t working it wouldn’t have been an option.
This is the case for many, such as Grace Motyl, a student in the practical nursing program who made it clear that she doesn’t find them affordable enough for students, stating that the quality of the product simply doesn’t equate to the $80 price tag.
Al-Hajjar further confirmed that the condition of the sweater remains the same between the standard in-store version and the customized version, the only difference being the embroidered name, year, and program title for an additional $40.
That said, to some, memories are priceless.
Over the course of her career as a student, Al-Hajjar has been participating in commemorating her educational successes for a long time, emphasizing that she went to university before coming to Algonquin. She made it a point to get a custom piece from both schools.
“Being able to add your name, program and graduating year makes the sweaters more personal, almost like a checkpoint in your educational career. It’s like, look, I did this thing, and this is the year I did it,” Al-Hajjar exclaimed as she showed off the embroidered 2025 on her sleeve with pride.