T-shirt revenues benefit Presidential Mentor’s Academy

Freshman Sierra Hill browses the T-shirts at the University Bookstore in the Commons. She said she is looking for a specific shirt as a gift for a family member.

by News Editor Anna Brown and Student Writer John Ed Dearman

Everyone loves getting free UNA T-shirts. However, these shirts are not exactly “free.”

The student activity fee, included in tuition and fees, pays for every free T-shirt students receive through student allocations funding, said Director of Student Engagement Tyler Thompson.

“There are many different things that Registered Student Organizations can do to get money to be able to hand out T-shirts for free,” Thompson said. “They can do fundraisers and things like that, but they mainly use the money from Student Allocations.”

Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Clinton Carter said T-shirt sales generate significant revenue from the UNA bookstore in the Commons.

“The sales always spike up at the beginning of the school year during football season, and they go up again around graduation,” he said.

Carter said the profits from the bookstore are designated toward scholarships for Presidential Mentors Academy participants.

These scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen whose racial group is underrepresented in the students body, according to una.edu.

Even if organizations don’t use allocations funds, there is still a process in approving the design. The RSO adviser also must give the OK for the shirt design.

Thompson said there are certain guidelines for organizations to follow when using the allocations fee. If an RSO is giving out free T-shirts at a planned event, it can use allocations funds. However, if the RSO uses the shirt to promote the organization, the RSO members must pay for the shirts themselves, he said.

Thompson said there are rules for T-shirt designs. If the organization is using allocations funding, Student Engagement must approve the shirt design.

“If we catch something that is offensive or problematic, then we send the design back and tell them to change it,” he said. “Of course, you can’t have things such as drugs and alcohol on the T-shirts. You also can’t have profane language or anything like that as well.”

Thompson said the reason the university monitors the shirt designs is protecting the university’s name and moral and ethical standards.

“If you have our name on the shirt right next to a picture of a beer can, then there will definitely be some problems,” he said.

Senior Jordan Shelvin said he has collected many T-shirts over the years at UNA.

“In the five years I have been here, I’ve probably gotten around 12 or 13 T-shirts,” he said. “It’s good though because I can always add it to my wardrobe.”

Sophomore Chris Daniels likes the free T-shirts, but wishes there were more variety of apparel.

“It would be cool to have scarves or toboggans or something like that to have something different,” he said.

Sophomore Deysha Garner, who is a member of SGA, said they do have plans for other kinds of shirts.

“Now that it is starting to get cold, we will start to hand out long sleeve shirts and other kinds of warm clothing,” she said. “As SGA, we always listen to student feedback and see what we can do which will be best for them.”