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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sweatshirt diversity not welcome

Published: October 25, 2013
Section: Opinions

Whenever I walk around campus, I have to question where I actually go to school. Yes, the high density of yarmulkes and gross tonnage of bagels suggest that I am at Brandeis, the apparel does not always share that opinion. While a good amount of the sweatshirts and keychains display the school colors, a fair amount are from different schools.
Brown, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford are all the schools that I applied to and was rejected from, leaving me to my safety, Brandeis. That didn’t actually happen, but those seem to be the hot fashion trend for sweatshirts this fall. It leaves me a bit perplexed whenever I pass by someone wearing a Cornell sweatshirt. I am left to wonder a few different things as to why they are wearing this completely irrelevant item. Did a sibling or a parent go there? Are they about to transfer or attend grad school and want to display the next step in their life? Or were they premature in thinking that they would end up going to this school when they visited and bought it when the tour ended right at the bookstore?

I can make no sense of this occurrence. It is as if we are all high school seniors and will be heading off to different colleges next year. I used a sweatshirt to showcase my new home for the next four years, as did most of the other people in my class. But that is not even slightly close to what is happening. Instead, these people are just too lazy to remove out-of-date clothes from their rotation once they leave for school. Or they just do not want to eat the $50 investment they made into a sweatshirt from when they were visiting Ithaca or Providence with their parents and were so excited about their life-long dream of climbing the ivy tower. Well, it is time to wake up because the dreams are over.

At least students here could show some pride in their school. Otherwise, why even show up? Do they prefer to wear other college’s logos when they are home or off campus? Do they want others to associate them with the name on their chest, ashamed of Brandeis? I would like to think that there are good reasons to display our school’s name on ourselves. Maybe I am wrong in that assumption, and maybe our school just is not good enough to warrant advertising it on ourselves.

However, I am the first to admit that these are just clothes. There are people in this state who would do anything for a warm sweatshirt or pair of sweatpants. I should be grateful that I have the clothes to keep me warm and also are able to display my personality. So no one should have to get rid of a perfectly good sweatshirt just because it says the wrong name. I would hate to be judged by the labels I have on my clothes and what it could implicate about me, so I shouldn’t judge, either. Nike uses unfair labor practices in foreign countries and might be vastly overmarked, but I will still wear their sweatshirts and sneakers because they are comfy. Besides, one can only have so many gray and blue t-shirts before they get bored and might want to mix it up with Harvard crimson or Dartmouth green.

I am not asking for you to go broke buying every shirt and hat at the bookstore or even one. But when you decide to go to a school and shell out over fifty grand a year, at least have the respect to not wear competing universities’ apparel. Imagine if someone wore an LSU sweatshirt at Alabama. Now of course, we are not as consumed by a sports team here at Brandeis as is Alabama, but it is a relevant argument. This university is one of the more competitive schools in the country in terms of admissions, and wearing other schools’ clothes seems like a slap in the face, at least to the admissions counselors. And without them, none of us would be here, so we at least owe them this.