Class shirts cause class conflicts

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Grace Hughes

The Dab. Harambe. The Freshman Class of 2020. 2016 was quite a year, huh?” This student submitted t-shirt slogan did not stray far from many of the ideas for the class shirts pitched to the freshman and junior student councils this year.

Traditionally, each class at Mason picks a t-shirt to order for their class to wear at the annual Homecoming Pep Rally. Slogans that were irrelevant to the class were not the only problem experienced by these groups when it came to class shirts. The freshman and junior classes experienced additional issues when it came to profit and willing customers.

A few weeks prior to the pep rally, the freshman Student Council Association (SCA) asked their classmates to submit their own designs using CustomInk, a t-shirt designing website. The SCA then created a survey including all the designs which the freshmen would use to vote for a final shirt.  

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Some examples of the designs submitted for the freshman class t-shirt. Although some students created designs that were irrelevant to the class, there were also many creative and class-appropriate ideas submitted. (Photos courtesy of CustomInk)

This idea seemed inclusive until the survey was posted. Due to the amount of designs and restrictions on class budget, the SCA had narrowed it down to only five designs. This caused some friction between students and their council board.

“As freshmen, it was already very difficult for us [the SCA] because in activities like this, we are very new to it all,”said freshman student council member Ciara Curtin.

Curtin agrees that the SCA still should have created a survey that included all relevant submissions instead of just choosing five.  However, there also was the issue that some of the shirt designs, although appropriate for the class, were over-budget.

The SCA then posted an updated survey. Although not every design was included, the survey featured all the submitted designs that were appropriate for the class and that also wouldn’t break the bank. The final design was successfully chosen by students, and the freshmen proudly sported their t-shirts with Mason colors at the pep rally last week.

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The final t-shirt design for the Class of 2020. Multiple classes at Mason had trouble compromising on pep rally shirts this year. (Photo courtesy of the freshman Student Council Association).

 Things did not end as well for the class of 2018.  The junior SCA used a method similar to the freshmen, though many students disliked the winning shirt design and so they didn’t buy it.

“I think people submitted shirts as jokes and people voted for them because they thought they were funny but no one was willing to buy them,” junior Jaden White said.

In addition, the junior pep rally t-shirts went on sale at the time as Powderpuff and Volleyboys shirts, and many already bought those shirts and were not interested in purchasing another.

“They were roughly $20 and I didn’t want to spend over $60 on t-shirts that I’m not going to wear in two years,” White said.

Since the student-selected shirt wasn’t selling well, the junior SCA members met and made a different shirt, hoping that students would like their design better.

“The second shirt didn’t satisfy the original people that did support [the first one], so then we had the same situation… We just decided to cancel it altogether because it didn’t look like we were going to be making profit,” said junior class president Jack West.

Although creating the class shirts for the classes of 2016 and 2018 didn’t go quite as planned this year, both classes have learned from their mistakes. Balancing the realities of cost with communication and collaboration should make for more successful poll process to create the shirts next year.