Perhaps the only thing more ubiquitous on Green Beer Day than dyed alcohol and glittery shamrock facial tattoos is Green Beer Day apparel — shirts, hats and other items melding topical memes with the beloved Miami holiday.
After a recent spike in alcohol violations, some are also using the holiday to spread a message: the importance of the Good Samaritan policy, which exempts students from disciplinary legal action if they seek emergency medical assistance for themselves or another severely intoxicated student.
MU College Democrats decided to craft their own GBD shirt this year to raise awareness about the policy. As communications chair Nick Froehlich explained, they hope that the prospect of legal or economic troubles won’t prevent students from seeking help if needed on Thursday.
“We knew we wanted to do something for Green Beer Day,” said Froehlich. “The t-shirt just coincides with our greater plan to just stand out by the Phi Delt gates and catch people on their way Uptown, hand out water bottles with the Good Samaritan policy attached and say, ‘Hey, know this, drink this also.’”
The front reads, “Enough is enough,” a quote popularized by Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign last year, along with a sketch of Sanders’ signature tousled hair and glasses. The back urges students to, “Know the Good Samaritan Policy. Make the call.”
“We just want everybody to be safe on Green Beer Day and be realistic with your drinking and know when to call emergency services, know when to be a good bystander,” said Froehlich. “There are so many points where somebody’s life can be saved before we intervene.”
Long-standing Uptown establishments also offer an array of GBD merchandise, and compete with student-run companies amongst Miami’s population. But stores such as Bagel & Deli and Seaview Outfitters said, due to many still favoring the comfort and convenience of buying in-store rather than online, they don’t lose too much business from student endeavors.
MU Shirt Bros is one of Miami’s most successful student-run businesses. Junior Ryan Competti runs the company with his recently graduated brother, who crafts all of their shirts. Classic designs sell better than topical memes, so they don’t update their products often.
“Every year it’s good money and it’s fun,” said Competti. “But this year, I think it was tougher because there was a huge influx of new competition, and a lot of good competition.”
Sales were slightly down this year, and while Competti can’t definitively trace that to Miami’s current inundation of alcohol problems, he suspects it’s a contributing factor.
“I definitely think there’s a new stigma this year that hands down did not exist last year and definitely years prior,” said Competti.
The Green Beer Day Company is one of MU Shirt Bros.’ competitors, offering products from Cubs stickers to hats featuring the Kermit meme (you know the one) drinking green beer instead of tea. Sophomores Grant Laning and Will Bafitis run GBD Co., and have expanded its brand beyond shirts to accessories such as stickers and hats.
“We were both interested in getting experience in starting our own business,” said Bafitis. “We thought it would be a feasible way to get products out there that students would like, and it’s a perfect combination of getting experience in business and doing something we enjoy.”
After a social media marketing campaign, the duo managed to sell over 400 total units, and not just in Oxford. They received orders from Bowling Green, Kent State, Ohio University and even some from Chicago.
Laning and Bafitis are conscious of Miami’s recently publicized problems with alcohol, and noted that very few of their available items (only two out of 12 shirts) actually depict photos of beer. Laning and Bafitis hope to use the GBD Company to emphasize the tradition of the holiday more than the alcohol consumed during it, and make lasting products.
“You can wear them that day but also be able to pass them down,” said Laning.