Whether you attend UNCW, are a native of Wilmington, or you just know of the university, it is no secret that our school is near the beach. Judging by some of the nicknames for UNCW: UNC Beach, UN Sea W, UNC by the Sea, it is clear that our geographical location plays a role in our school’s brand narrative. This is exemplified through our mascot, Sammy the Seahawk, as well as our school colors.
Believe it or not, the color teal was not picked just because we think it’s pretty (although it’s a plus), neither were the gold and navy blue that help to round out the vibrant color palate. UNCW’s school colors were chosen to represent the surrounding area that helps define our institution’s brand. The color teal was chosen to represent the Atlantic Ocean, the dark blue represents the deep ocean, and the gold symbolizes the sand.
This association with the beach has created a community of teal throughout the university. Everywhere you turn on campus you are inundated with the color teal. Teal has become synonymous with UNCW and its brand. We even turned the color into an adjective with a 2009 campaign for the athletic department that asked, “Are you tealin’ it?” One popular t-shirt worn by students says, “Feel my Teal”. We have Teal Tuesdays where students wear the color to show school spirit. This creates a feeling of unity on campus and gives students a way to express their love for UNCW.
While the university’s close proximity to the beach has some influence on creating its brand narrative, there is more to the school than just that. For those of us who attend UNCW, we know that going to class does not mean sunbathing, surfing, and collecting seashells. UNCW has a strong focus on academics and that is it’s main priority. We are well known for our excellent marine biology program as well as our professional school of business. We also aim to be environmentally friendly and do our part to support the community. There are many things that make UNCW the school that it is. Our proximity to the ocean and our love of the color teal are just a few of those things that bring us together as a university.