Hey Day T-shirt stirs debate among juniors
April 12, 2011, 3:25 am · Updated April 12, 2011, 12:00 am·
Since last Thursday’s release of the Hey Day 2011 T-shirt design, many juniors have been upset that they were not allowed to vote for the winning design.
Last year, the Junior Class Board collected student designs and allowed the junior class to vote on their favorite.
College and Wharton junior Jibran Khan, president of the Junior Class Board, said the board decided to eliminate voting this year after consulting Office of Student Affairs adviser Rodney Robinson.
Voting was “absolute confusion and chaos,” Khan said, adding that since the board uses non-official Penn technology, there is “no way to verify if someone is voting once or 15, 20 times.”
“You can clearly tell there [was] manipulation in the voting, and we did not want to go through this process again,” he added.
Instead, the Junior Class Board selected the T-shirt designs after formally consulting the OSA and other key University stakeholders such as the Office of Alumni Relations, Penn Traditions and College senior Matt Amalfitano, the former Undergraduate Assembly president. Khan added that he also sought the advice of student leaders on an informal basis.
Khan explained that the official T-shirt design, created by College junior Sining Zhou, was “the best and most festive.”
“Every year there [are] students who don’t like the design,” adding that “it’s impossible to appease everyone when you have 2,400 students.”
Many juniors were upset that they were excluded from a process they consider a part of one of Penn’s most celebrated traditions.
“The only problem I had with the whole situation was that Class Board kept telling us about the [flawed voting process which] to me didn’t justify not asking the student body to vote,” Wharton junior Trisha Mantri said.
The board “would have had more support on it if they had gotten the student body involved … it’s not representative of the junior class’s opinion,” she added.
College junior Cher Hung agreed that “it’s kind of unfair to not allow the student body to vote.”
Hung was not only upset by the lack of voting but was also disappointed in this year’s winning design, which boasts an enlarged clock on the front with the back print reading “You know what time it is.”
College junior Joy McKenzie found the front of the shirt to be “a little big and intrusive,” adding that “its like a big old Flavor Flav clock, and no one wants that.”
Hung agreed, explaining that Flavor Flav — a rapper from the ’90s — is “outdated.”
“What, he was like 10 years ago?” she asked, adding that “I don’t think it culturally represents our class.”
Hung, along with other juniors, decided to be proactive in their Hey Day apparel and created a Facebook group to sell an alternate T-shirt designed by College junior Connie Ko, which was submitted to the Class Board but only gained an honorable mention.
Hung explained that this effort “stands for much more than a shirt” adding that “people wanted a choice and now they [have one].”
Surplus money generated from the T-shirt advertised on Facebook will be donated to the American Red Cross for relief in Japan, Hung added.
“At the end of the day, it is about the celebration of juniors becoming seniors,” Khan said. The ultimate purpose “is not about the T-shirt but bringing the junior class together and having spirit.”
Nevertheless, opinions remain mixed throughout the junior class. “I’m not that upset, it’s just a T-shirt.” McKenzie said.