Long lines formed across the Centrum, students rocked back and forth, laughing excitedly as they waited. Waiting for the countdown that would end with being handed a tiny black box that contained everything they had hoped for during the past two or three years – the Cobber ring.
Students purchase the ring for a number of reasons. For Corinne Burrell ’18, it is about becoming part of a tradition.
“I like the history and tradition behind the ring,” Burrell says. “The ring has existed since 1920, created by a Concordia alum. To now have its history physically represented on my hand is amazing.”
Katie Beedy ’18 likes the immediate link the ring establishes between people.
“I love having this connection with previous Cobbers,” Beedy says. “Being anywhere in the world, I could run into an 80-year-old with a Cobber ring and now I can share that connection with them.”
Andrew Johnson ’18 wants to be a part of a larger community.
“The ring is a physical representation of the community we have,” Johnson says. “It holds a lot of the togetherness I feel on campus and so when I go off campus, I still have that community with me.”
For students like Amanda Randall ’18, the ring is a reminder of what she has accomplished.
“I am the first person in my family to go to college,” she says. “By having the ring, it gives me a way to connect with the place that has given me so much.”
Current students are not the only ones elated to obtain a tangible memento of their Concordia experiences. Alumni have had opportunities to continue being a part of the tradition.
“I couldn't afford one while I was there, but my husband always knew I wanted one,” Leah Glass Staahl ’98 says. “For our five-year anniversary, he got it for me and now I wear it every day. I love how it gets recognized no matter where you go.”
Other alumni are reminded by the supportive community they are a part of.
“Mine was given to me anonymously. To this day I do not know who purchased my ring for me,” Shyla (Wilson) Thompson ’03 says. “On ring day, I found a note in my mailbox that said, ‘You have a very special friend who would like to purchase your Cobber ring for you. Stop by the ring desk to pick out your ring.’ I wear my ring every day and I am always reminded of how generous others can truly be.”
A remembrance of a place that gave students not only an education but a home shines through the maroon and gold band – a characteristic that is carried around the world. By expanding the community do current and past students feel another way the can actively become responsibly engaged in the world.
“It’s not only the physical weight (of the ring) that I feel, but now the emotional weight of being a Cobber,” Burrell says. “I am representing my school by wearing this ring, bringing the responsibility to be a good Cobber.”
Sage Larson '17 is studying multimedia journalism and Spanish.