Because the Weber State University campus sits on an elevated level compared to the majority of Ogden City, Ogden doesn’t have the same connection or college-town feel that other Utah cities like Logan and Provo do.
Make Ogden Purple is a movement inspired to intertwine the community and culture of both the city and the university. Amir Jackson, a member of the Weber State Alumni Association Board of Directors, has been a pioneer of leading the charge. He said the disconnect between the two is a key reason why this movement is important.
Jackson noticed that when the school hosted events, they were typically held on campus rather than out in the community. He also browsed social media and saw how his local feed was flooded with memes and content about universities in Salt Lake City and Provo, but not Ogden.
What truly rubbed Jackson the wrong way was when the Wildcat football team was battling James Madison during the 2017 FCS Playoffs, but discussion about it was nowhere to be found, nor were local bars and restaurants showing the game.
“It was a sincere problem to me that we had a nationally-ranked team and no one was talking about it,” Jackson told Weber State Weekly, a podcast and blog dedicated to bringing fans Wildcat-related content.
Frustrated, he decided to put out a graphic with the phrase “Make Ogden Purple.” Four years later, his vision is coming to life.
On Oct. 5, the Ogden City Council and Mayor Michael P. Caldwell passed and proclaimed the initiative brought forth by Jackson and the WSU Alumni Board which officially made Oct. 11-16, 2021 “Make Ogden Purple Week,” coinciding with WSU’s Homecoming Week.
The week will include participation with the university’s Homecoming Week events, but is also meant to include more. The initiative encourages Ogden businesses and residents to find their own ways to go purple and show their WSU pride and support, like shining purple lights and signs in their windows during the week. WSU banners, flyers and art will also be found along sidewalks and power poles in downtown Ogden.
“Everyone is invited to look for creative ways to ‘purple up’ Ogden,” Jackson said. “We want this to be an authentic show of support.”
The initiative was also supposed to include a Purple Paw Parade on Oct. 9 downtown, but an announcement was sent out on the Traditions Keeper app the night before that the event was canceled due to poor weather conditions.
“Make Ogden Purple” is meant to serve as a visual reminder of the importance of the collaboration between Ogden City and WSU.
Jackson said that just like those who live in Ogden feel a connection the mountains, residents should also feel a connection to WSU.
“We need to come together as a community, and what better way than by showing our purple pride for the university that unites us all?” Jackson said.