With homecoming fast approaching, the hearts and minds of Bulldogs everywhere are set ablaze with excitement for the big game. Marketing majors Axel Rosar, a senior, and Derek Buermann, a junior, took this passion to the next level and designed a T-shirt that they said they hope will “promote and embrace the tradition of the UMD homecoming experience.”
They intended to sell these memorable keepsakes in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) lobby—the same place that they sold their “BullDoggie style” homecoming hats last year.
What Rosar and Buermann didn’t know is that in order to sell merchandise on campus, students must obtain a permit from administration. Once informed of this, the duo attempted to get one. They were willing to pay the accompanying fee of $120 per day. They were denied this permit, preventing them from selling their T-shirts on campus.
Rosar and Buermann were upset with this turn of events, and they had to change their sales approach by selling their apparel online this year.
Although the online factor made it easier for both the duo and their customers, they miss the face-to-face interaction they felt characterized their business and built up a good brand reputation.
While some may disapprove of the content of the shirt, both the creators of the T-shirts and the Office of Student Life stressed that the reason the shirts cannot be sold on campus has nothing to do with their content.
“The purpose in selling the BullDoggie Style homecoming shirts was so we can take the concepts and strategies taught to us in the classroom and apply it to real-world situations,” Rosar said. “Until students can work with real dollars and real techniques, we only have an idea (of) what to expect.”
While their motives are respected by the administration, a permit for selling on campus cannot be given to them because their business is not involved with the university.
Lisa Erwin, Vice Chancellor of Student Life and Dean of Students, feels that there are still many ways to promote and run a business—the online sale of the T-shirts being an example.
“UMD follows the University of Minnesota policy regarding use of facilities,” Erwin said. Erwin went on to note the policy, which states, “The University will not enter into use agreements for the use of its property for events or programs by non-University entities whose primary purpose for the request is: 1. Revenue generation, 2. The sale solicitation or promotion of goods and services. . . .”
However, the Kirby Student Center may sometimes be able to grant exceptions.
“Kirby Student Center grants such exceptions (in the form of permits) primarily for fundraisers for student organizations and Campus Life Programs (CLPs),” Erwin said. “Students who are not part of a student organization or a CLP are not granted such permits. A business run by students is not a university entity, a student organization or a Campus Life Program.”
Next week during homecoming, students will see all sorts of Bulldog apparel celebrating UMD’s school spirit. Even though BullDoggie Style T-shirts aren’t being sold on campus, they will still be present at homecoming—an arrangement that seems to please both parties.
“UMD students are very innovative, creative and entrepreneurial,” Erwin said. “It’s one of the things that makes it a joy to work at UMD.”
If students would like to purchase a T-shirt they can visit the group’s Facebook page. For more information on the university’s policy, visit http://www.policy.umn.edu/Policies/Operations/RealEstate/REALESTATE_APPB.html.
BY MELISSA VANDERSTAD