With the help of a T-shirt, the Texas State College Democrats have found a new way to spark a political conversation on campus and throughout the community.
Nicholas Laughlin, president of the Texas State College Democrats and public relations sophomore, said the shirt, which has the phrase “Abbott, What’s Good?” printed on the front, is designed bring awareness to politics in the state of Texas.
The phrase plays off of a now iconic moment from this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Nicki Minaj went to accept her award for Best Hip-Hop Video and confronted Miley Cyrus about a New York Times article. Minaj turned to Cyrus and said, “Miley, what’s good?”
Laughlin said he hoped the pop culture reference to the Texas governor would help attract students to the fundraiser.
“I was just messing around, but we all thought it was a really good idea,” Laughlin said. “We thought it would be cool to reach out to millennials with that pop culture reference.”
Laughlin said the organization is using the website Teespring to create the shirt.
“The website that we’re doing it with is kind of like a Kickstarter for T-shirts,” Laughlin said.
In order for the items to be delivered, he said a total of 30 shirts must be purchased.
“We aren’t making a huge profit off of them,” Laughlin said. “We wanted to make them as cheap as possible. If we hit that goal then the T-shirts are printed.”
Laughlin said the design was less about making a profit and more about creating a conversation among students.
He said he wants students to ask questions about what the phrase means and who Abbott is.
“I am hoping to let people know who Greg Abbott is and who he is for Texas,” Laughlin said. “I think a lot of students don’t know who he is or even who our vice president is so hopefully it’ll be good way to make students more aware.”
Amanda Guillen, College Democrats outreach director and international studies senior, said she has already seen a huge response from social media.
“We are definitely more interested in the conversation starter,” Guillen said. “We have already seen a lot of response from social media, asking who Abbott is or what the shirt means.”
Isabele Alfonso, health and fitness management freshman, said the group believes the shirt will gain attention from students because of its clever design.
“It’s like right in your face,” Alfonso said. “I’m pretty sure people will be curious to ask who Abbott is and why they decided to make the shirt on him.”
Alfonso said she has a lot of peers who aren’t as aware as they should be of the politics surrounding them today.
“I guess people don’t realize how important it is yet,” Alfonso said. “But I do think we all need to talk about, or at least realize what’s going on.”
Guillen said many millennials may not be interested in politics because they feel they are ignored as a generation.
“I think our generation is very unsatisfied,” Guillen said. “So then, they think the government isn’t doing enough for them—which is why we need to care.”
Alfonso said a growing disinterest of politics through the generations may be due to the overtaking of pop culture.
She said that is why a shirt like this serves an important purpose on a college campus.
“I think people are just interested in different things, like how many likes or views they have on a picture,” Alfonso said. “Which is why I think combining a modern phrase should work and have students buy the T-shirt.”
He said the organization hopes to help students understand the important role politics plays in each of their lives.
“I think that’s one of the main reasons why we made it so it does start conversation,” Laughlin said. “Millennials especially need to realize that politics does play a part in their lives, whether they think about it or not.”