T-shirt, banner contest make for immediate class bonding
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2013 16:09
Walking around campus, it is nearly impossible to miss students wearing their freshman orientation T-shirts. One student in each class gets to wear the shirt that represents not only his or her class, but design as well.
Director of the Office for Campus Life Joe Golia explained that the orientation T-shirt design contest is a long-standing tradition dating back to before he began working at Tufts in 2008.
This year’s shirt was designed by freshman Ben Averill, with the words “Tufts University” bending into the shape of an elephant’s head and “Class of 2017” spanning the trunk.
Seniors Mitch Mosk and CJ Graham, Undergraduate Orientation coordinators, sent a notice to the Tufts Orientation Facebook group in June asking incoming freshmen to submit designs for their orientation T-shirt. The designs had to include the Tufts University logo and class year, and a maximum of three colors.
They received 17 designs, a similar number as in past years, Graham said. Graham and Mosk were responsible for choosing the winners, and they recruited the help of some friends to decide.
“We had a lot of great submissions this year,” Graham said. “We choose our top four designs, and we ended up getting a lot of different people’s opinions [and] ranking them, and [then] we went with the one that was the most popular.”
Averill, who won the competition, said that he was happy just to participate.
“I like art a lot, but I never really had time to do it during the school year. I was just excited to enter,” Averill said.
According to Golia, social media has made it much easier to get students’ attention over the summer months.
Another way of increasing enthusiasm among incoming freshman during the summer is through the class banner design contest. Class banners have been hanging in the Mayer Campus Center since 1998, but the design contest for the banners is only in its third year, according to Golia.
“It used to be that the class was responsible for getting the design and the banner done,” Golia said. “One of the problems in the past was that the freshman class council wouldn’t do it immediately, so sometimes the banner wouldn’t be ready until their sophomore or junior year.”
The new system lets freshman design banner options over the summer before arriving on campus so the class vote can take place during orientation. The banner can then be up by October or November of their freshman year.
The submissions will be on display for a vote during the Jumbolicious Carnival event during orientation week. Golia said that there have been around five or six submissions in the past couple of years.
Students from last year’s graduating class combined these two traditions, Golia said, something he now wants to make a Senior Week tradition. Independently, students of the class of 2013 created a T-shirt modeled after their class banner to be sold during Senior Week.
Golia believes traditions like these, especially the T-shirt design contest, help to facilitate class unity.
“It’s immediate bonding,” Golia said. “They all have something the same, [and] you see them all over, especially that first week.”