Colorado State University Celebrates Black History Month with Student-Designed Hat

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Colorado State University (CSU) kicked off Black History Month in February by selling a limited-edition, student-designed hat at the university bookstore.

Freshman Varehya Pratt, a first-generation student studying product development at CSU, was given the opportunity to contribute her design for the university’s project. The specifications included that she construct a design for a snapback hat that represents black and African American culture, history, and unity — in celebration of Black History Month.

Pratt said her goal was to create a product that unified the CSU community.

Her final design included the university’s logo placed over an image of the African continent.  

“We wanted to represent more than just Africa and black culture by bringing CSU into it, so that’s why I decided to put CSU’s logo in the middle of Africa,” Pratt said in a previous interview. “It shows how we can all be united as one, as fellow [CSU] Rams.”

The design incorporated kente, a traditional African weaved print that represents different concepts of the culture, often appearing in bright colors. The pattern was used to fill in the African continent, along with the back strap and brim of the cap.  

“This print represents how much I went through to learn my own history while also representing the black culture, and that is why it’s so prominent in the design of my hat,” Pratt said.

Assistant Director of CSU’s Black African American Cultural Center (BAACC) Duan Ruff said that, since wearing the hat, he has had positive exchanges with other members of the CSU community.

“Being able to have a connection with someone I don’t know is the beauty of what we celebrate during Black History Month,” Ruff said.

A portion of the sales from the hat are being returned to the BAACC to provide funding for future programming.

“I want to make a difference here and make it a more diverse and welcoming campus than it already is,” Pratt said. “Making this hat and [sharing] it with the CSU community is one step in the right direction.”