Langara lacks department-branded clothing

Some students want to buy spirit gear

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By Laisa Conde

This story has been updated to include comments from Langara students and Eric Stewart, chair of Langara’s professional photography program.

Students in programs other than nursing or registered massage therapy at Langara College won’t find branded clothing with the name of their department at the bookstore.

Some students want their department represented

Mark Dawson, Langara’s interim director of communications and marketing services, said personalized clothing, known as spirit gear, is something students in post-secondary institutions often buy and can provide a sense of belonging.

“It’s very common for a college or university to offer some kind of spirit gear,” Dawson said. “It builds camaraderie among the student cohorts, too.”

Samira Sallow, a third-term student in political science, said she would be happy to buy a hoodie with the logo of her department.

“I would be more inclined to buy, because hoodies are awesome,” she said.

While the bookstore carries some general items with Langara’s logo — like umbrellas, mugs and office supplies — department-specific clothing options are restricted to the nursing and registered massage therapy programs.

The head of Langara’s bookstore was unable to reply to the Voice by deadline.

However, Dawson said the reason is that both programs not only have longer terms and large cohorts but also do external events, such as speaking to a classroom. In that case, it’s nice to represent the college and their programs in this way.

Not all Langara students want spirit gear.

Pedro Queique, a second-term student of the post degree diploma of marketing management program, said he owned spirit gear from his college in Brazil, but never wore it.

“It was just inside my cabinet, so I wasn’t even wearing it or actually remembering about the time that I was in college,” Queique said.

Nursing department has sold merchandise for 20 years

Sandy Atwal, chair of the nursing department, said selling their personalized gear is a helpful way to represent Langara.

“This was a request made from students over 20 years ago and have been selling at the bookstore since the 90s,” she said.

The RMT department started doing the same a couple years ago, said program coordinator Jennifer O’Sullivan.

“It helps to raise awareness that there is an RMT program at Langara,” O’Sullivan said. “The students will often wear them to outreach events when they are doing clinical placements in sporting events.”

Dawson said a study on how selling personalized merchandise might promote Langara’s reputation has never been conducted.

Even though only two departments are represented at the bookstore, others have created their own personalized hoodies and sweatshirts.

Eric Stewart, chair of the professional photography program at Langara, said his department started selling its own merchandising due to students’ interest and as a fundraiser for their graduation party.

“Somewhere between five and 10 years, they’ve been doing a fundraiser with sweatshirts,” he said. “So, it’s all student driven. Faculty has nothing to do with it.”

Stewart added that his department is not interested in having the bookstore sell their merchandise since not only would it cannibalize the students’ fundraising, but would also prevent students from expressing personality in their design.

Stewart said he wears his personalized hoodie with the Langara logo during photography events he attends, and people often comment on it or ask him questions about the program.

“As someone who is sort of responsible for getting the students in that program, it’s great to have that photography swag to wear,” he said, adding that people react to it. “Like, you’re a Langara photography person.”

Watch this video and see what Langara students think about spirit gear.

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