Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

New college grads: Not bored of the rings

Graduating students are walking away from USF with more than a degree in hand. More and more grads are buying some “bling” to represent their alma mater, industry insiders said.

Paula Testa is a regional territory associate for Balfour, the customizable ring company that caters to high schools, colleges, the military and professional sports teams.

Testa often sits outside the Bookstore and welcomes students who flock to her table to glance at the different customizable class rings Balfour offers.

As the territory associate, she deals directly with students when they purchase and personalize their rings.

“There has been a renewed interest in the overall spirit of the school,” she said.

Cassie Barid, Balfour’s regional manager for South Florida, said there has been a dramatic increase in the number of ring sales for USF.

“Typically when the football team is winning, more people want to buy the class rings,” Barid said.

Balfour’s increasing ring sales mirror the increase of other USF attire.

Communications Manager Derek Hughes of the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) said there has been a surge of requests by different companies to produce USF apparel. These companies must be given permission to produce class rings and other materials bearing the USF logo. They also must be licensed by the CLC.

There are no exclusive agreements and any company can sell class rings as long as they have permission from the University, Hughes said. As of right now, three companies have that permission: Balfour, Herff Jones and Jostens.

“Applications are submitted to the school for approval and the school determines whether they want that company to manufacture rings on their behalf,” Hughes said.

USF receives an 8 percent royalty of each ring sale.

According to Barid, class rings used to be offered as one single-school design, but different designs were soon in demand. The anti-establishment mood of the 1960s changed how students felt about class rings and students started to see the rings as a personal piece of jewelry, she said.

Despite the high rise of ring customizing, Barid said that colleges are now moving back to a narrowed collection of rings.

“We’re finding that the majority of colleges are starting to rebuild the ring tradition,” she said. “The mood is going back to the rings as being symbols of the university and they are becoming more of a symbol of tradition rather than self identity.”

For some students at USF, a class ring does not always symbolize one’s school spirit.

“It’s more of a way to show off that you’ve earned your degree,” said Omar Nevarez, a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences.

Other students see a class ring as a way to represent their alumni ties to the University.

“When people ask when you where you went to school you have a ring to prove it,” said Jheanell Beharie, a senior majoring in Biomedical science.