Club apparel not effective use of funds

March 22, 2017 — by Roland Shen and Ashley Su

Club officers flocked to the quad during club day on Sept. 22, wearing colorful shirts that represented their organizations. They yelled out chants and flaunted their apparel in attempts to promote their clubs and get attention from other students, but their efforts just weren’t drawing in as many people as they expected.

The main purpose of club-related apparel is to promote the groups and keep members engaged. But does making everyone pay $15 or $25 or even $50 for these items really accomplish these goals?

Club apparel, such as lanyards, jackets and most notoriously, T-shirts, just aren’t as meaningful as club officers make them out to be. Many organizations spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on apparel annually, and even though some gear may look sharp, it doesn’t actually help improve club membership.

Try imagining how many times someone stops a student rocking a speech and debate sweater and asks about how to join. Most students pay little attention to the promotional apparel around campus, and for the most part, the number of group-related items is out of control.

Because dozens of organizations on campus have their own apparel, the clothes start to lose their appeal over time. People don’t want to pay attention to so much of the same clothes at school.

Students typically wear club apparel either only when they have to, or if they just don’t have anything else to wear. Worn as lazy day throw-on clothes or sleepwear, club-funded shirts then begin to lose their original promotional purpose. For most students, club shirts are just worn on a few events per year like club day, club rush and yearbook club photos.

Furthermore, some students seem to join clubs just for the sake of owning club-related apparel. As a result, it may be a factor in the large number of uncommitted members many clubs have.

Clubs and their members are paying hundreds of dollars for their attire and gaining little out of it in many cases. This wasted money could be used to work on more service projects or given as direct donations to worthy causes, and groups like speech and debate could attend more tournaments.

So while clubs should continue to promote themselves through word of mouth and online, they don’t all need their own T-shirts, most of which will end up as goodwill items in a couple of years anyway.


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