by Emily Dole-Muinos
Prices of collegiate merchandise at UT have increased so much that they have some students say they are unaffordable.
While University of South Florida sells sweatshirts on Amazon Prime for $34.99, UT’s sweatshirts cost $59.90 with $5.99 for shipping.
Being able to wear college merchandise allows students to be proud of the school they attend. It represents school colors and pride and is something many students look forward to when they go to college.
Emily Morales, freshman, stated that she has seen students from other colleges wear their school merchandise, but not at UT. She also added that she was contemplating transferring to Florida State University to be more involved with social events and does not own a lot of UT merchandise because it is expensive.
“UT students have never been very prideful when it comes to school pride,” said Carolyn Plantin. “Not much has changed since my freshman year; the school was similar [then] too.”
Some students have said that the only place to purchase affordable apparel is at a nearby Walmart.
“I have bought multiple shirts there for only $10,” said Mackenna Romine, sophomore political science major.
However, not all students see Walmart as a viable option to avoid high prices at UT’s bookstore.
“I shop at Walmart for literally everything, but those shirts are so ugly, and there’s only two options,” said Sarah Newcomb, UT student.
Although the apparel might be more expensive, UT’s bookstore has a diverse selection of merchandise, from basic UT t-shirts to dog collars.
“The bookstore offers a variety of items at different price points – from plain cotton t-shirts to high-tech workout gear – to ensure students can find what fits their budget and lifestyle,” said General Manager Nick Fagnoni. “We plan a strong promotional calendar that ensures various merchandise categories are on sale multiple times throughout the year to offer additional value to our campus community at UT.”
Fagnoni also added that the bookstore tries to make their price-points accommodating to everyone and customers are getting what they are paying for, especially when it comes to the quality of the apparel.
“Barnes & Noble College works to source the highest quality brands at the most affordable prices,” Fagnoni said. “Our merchandise is priced competitively with merchandise of similar quality and value offered by other retailers. All of our vendor partners must agree to our code of conduct, which includes adherence to fair labor association standards and securing licenses for our partner schools.”
UT’s more upscale brands include Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, Nike, Under Armour, and Champion, which leave students questioning if that is the reason the prices are more expensive in the bookstore.
“I don’t believe we need such fancy brands,” said Faith Kraus, UT student . “I love their standards about fair labor, but I believe there are cheaper brands that they could work with as well. We should have affordable prices in our bookstores for students to wear and show school pride.”
Emily Dole-Muinos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org