Operation Ivy League: T-Shirt Edition

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There’s a new Operation Ivy League in town, and this time it’s selling T-shirts.

Four students, Slav Sobkov (SEAS ’12), Wilmer Cerda (SEAS ’11), Carmen Marin (SEAS ’11), and Elizabeth Pino (CC ’11), have decided to combat negative media portrayal of Columbia this week by raising $11,000 (hey, that number sounds familiar!) and doing good things with it. The plan, run by the group naming itself Operation Ivy League: The Legit Deal, is to sell T-shirts to raise funds for a “larger five-month operation” that will focus on substance abuse prevention and treatment. The hope is that Columbia will “make the news headlines again, but this time for a good reason!”

The T-shirts will read “Operation Ivy League: The Legit Deal” printed on a white cotton shirt, much like the image to your right. T-shirts are $15 each, so they’ll need to sell, according to our calculations, 733.3333-with-a-bar-over-it T-shirts excluding the cost of actually printing the shirts. The Legit Deal hopes to sell T-shirts through the end of the semester.

The Legit Deal trumpets: “It is time for Columbia to come together and show the nation the good that Columbia does every day. Something that is truly lost in the eyes of the outside community and even within our own sometimes-jaded Columbia community.”

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  1. i'd buy it  

    if it just said "operation ivy league"

  2. Anonymous

    You can always count on Columbia students to take a negative thing and turn it around to try to save the world.

  3. Anonymous  

    i'm willing to support, but could they come up with a better T-shirt design? also, "“larger five-month operation” that will focus on substance abuse prevention and treatment" ? What does that mean?

  4. Anonymous

    "the legit deal" is possibly the worst subtitle I could ever imagine

  5. cool  

    it's an awesome idea, but the tee shirt sucks.

    and could they be more specific with where that money will go?

    • look  

      at their responses to similar comments on the facebook group... its like a coordinated bunch of customer service reply robots

    • Skeptic  

      Considering the group does not appear to be associated with any particular student organization, how are we supposed to put our trust in their "larger five-month operation." In any case, 5 Indie points for you, Operation Ivy League

      • Agreed.  

        I don't distrust any of these people - I know a couple of them. But without any 'official' oversight or board of directors type group, I don't feel comfortable giving them any money.

        Not only because of the apparent lack of direction, but because the t-shirt, ya know, sucks.

  6. Anonymous  

    A high school in my town made shirts that read "Free ___" to protest a group of students arrested for possession.

    Is this a kind of protest? Of what?

    Seems to me more like a group projecting its a coping mechanism after all the bad press Columbia has been getting recently

  7. Anonymous  

    yay carmen and wilmer!

  8. I think  

    they could do better with the name
    I like the "Operation Ivy League:" part, but "the legit deal" sounds funny

    oh wait, actually is that supposed to be a joke on dealing
    okay maybe i get it now

  9. Derp  

    Substance abuse isn't going to change as a result of "Operation Ivy League."

    And Columbia doesn't help anyone, especially not in the local community. It kicks people out of their homes to teach our entitled asses finance so we can go out and make the wealth distribution gap even larger.

    Columbia could use a little bad press.

    • CC '11

      Are you serious? Columbia gets nothing but bad press! Minutemen protest riots, Ahmadinejad protests, swastikas drawn on professors' doors, nooses hung on professors' doors, workers embezzeling money, Ann Coulter vs. the S&M club, Manhattanville protests, Social Experiment jabs, and now incestuous professors and a drug ring. This is all within the last few years, and I'm probably missing a LOT of other bad press instances. I'm pretty sure we're immune to bad press at this point.

      But agreed, Operation Ivy League will do absolutely nothing to stop kids here from buying and abusing drugs. New suppliers will just move in to fill the gap, new dealers will sprout up (probably already have) and everyone can go back to their adderall-driven lives.

    • Go have a real fight ...

      ... with someone who actually hurts people, like Halliburton, or the Corcoran Group.

      I mean. Do you call free legal advice, free dental care, computer donations, summer youth programs, tutoring services, and job training workshops "not helping"? Columbia does a LOT to help the community, it's just really bad at promoting itself as a community supporter.

      • Van Owen

        Please, you're not going to come within miles of anything ghetto after you graduate, so get off your soap box. You'll probably work for one of those "evil" companies. Or, you'll end up being another Dr. David David...poser.

        • Go have a real fight ...

          I sincerely hope you were replying to the person I was replying to, since you clearly don't know anything about me. I grew up in what you so condescendingly call the "ghetto."

          • Van Owen

            Actually I didn't mean to offend you, but if you're a lady...what's going on? Maybe we can get together sometime over a can of Four Loko and discuss some important stuff like you and me? I'll even let you pick the color the color! Red, Yellow, or Blue? I come from the hood as well, Mali-boo. Word.

          • Go have a real fight ...

            So "poser" was supposed to be a compliment? You've got a lot to learn ...

          • Van Owen

            Tough love is how I get down. Sensitivity is for guys who cry...and girls, but I can be nice. I'm a feminist, so if we get married I'll expect you to work at least 40 hours a week. I'll be a stay at home dad. I'll make sure the maid and nanny do their jobs right and take care of those damn kids.

          • Go have a real fight ...

            Poser. If you were really a feminist you'd know it's about making choices - not about letting some "tough"-minded sarcastic guy tell a woman what to do. A real feminist man would have a conversation with his female partner to figure out what they each wanted, not lay down the law. A real feminist would put aside that deluded belief that tears are weak. Pretending to be all tough and pushing their decisions on others without consent is something people do when they're scared - truly strong people can just sit down and talk it out, and actually solve a problem.

            And a real feminist man would never assume someone's a chick because of the way they write.

            I stand by my earlier assertion: You've got a lot to learn.

          • Van Owen

            Wow, you read like a lady. But if you're not, that's cool, I don't discriminate. You have a lot of wonderful things to say, and you present your opinion very clearly. I like that a lot, but you ought not take yourself too seriously. Life could be worse?! You could be in Afghanistan thinking about how nice it would be to have an opportunity to spend some time with your friends and family, but keep going, I like your opinions and arguments girl or not. :)

      • not to mention

        all the free clinic stuff up at the medical center. Anyone seen those signs about the free heroin clinic / treatment from the med center on subways?

        Also, not to mention all the research that goes on at Columbia in all departments. There are countless people doing such groundbreaking work on all aspects of science, medicine, engineering, international affairs, law and anything else you can think of!

  10. CC '11

    Really hating the subtitle, and the design could be less "we did this in five minutes." If they can't do design themselves, they should recruit a design friend to come up with a logo.

    Honestly, I'm hesitant to give $15 to an 'organization' that doesn't have a really specific mission statement or any real affiliation with anything. If they paired up with some community service-type organizations and weren't just a group of four random people casually holding onto the cash with the promise of doing good, I would be more inclined to purchase.

  11. ...

    I think if they take "the legit deal" off of the T-shirt, it'd definitely sell better. They can keep it in their overall campaign though.

    And is it weird that I'm an alum but I kind of want a t-shirt too?

    • ...  



      "“It is time for Columbia to come together and show the nation the good that Columbia does every day..."


      [epstein photo]


  12. Anonymous  

    Seriously? Fuck these kids. Taking advantage of a fucked situation to rush out a shitty tshirt backing a shitty disorganized cause. We already have substance abuse counseling on campus. These kids just want money and something else to put on their resume's. Way to go exploiting your fellow students' plight douche bags.

  13. Anonymous  

    my bad, resumes*

  14. cc'10 alum

    It's not weird. I want one too. Give these kids some time and hopefully they will come up with a more concrete plan regarding the use of the $11,000. My suggestion would be to donate to local rehab centers like the Phoenix House: which has a special focus on teen drug abuse.

  15. As a general rule...  

    ...I avoid buying anything from anyone who uses the word "legit".

    i.e. "Yo, I KNOW I have a ponytail, but that doesn't mean this LSD ain't legit."

    • Actually  

      I think that's a pretty realistic summary of the reaction at Columbia by non-internet folk. And, in general, of the Columbia "drug scene." Although, I don't really know of anyone here who does Adderall without a prescription, but I suppose it's not that shocking that people would. Thanks for being a rational, nuanced interviewee, Eliza!


  17. cc'10

    you only need one 3-with-a-bar-over-it for the repeating symbol, bwog. amateurs.

  18. hm  

    i want a shirt that says \operation: ivy league\ and a picture of the 5 boys with big wanted signs on them and their bail on the bottom.

  19. Anonymous  

    god this is stupid. this will all blow over in a few months. no need to 'save our reputation' with a pretend cause.

  20. ...  

    let it blow over. you're only making it worse.

  21. yay because  

    they're awesome people! please stop hating on them.

  22. cc  

    what were they thinking. shitty design. i'm going to design a much better one without a slogan. and charge just enough to pay for the shirts, and not try and help some shitty not-well-thought-out cause. thumbs up if you want one.

  23. Anonymous  

    how about "Operation Ivy League: Snitches Get Stitches"?

  24. Anonymous  

    This is funny 'cuz whenever people start shitting on greek life there are always a ton of people rushing to its defense talking about all of the charitable work they do and "philanthropies." But in response to frat boys doing something horrible, the NON GREEK students come in with the charity idea that tries to make everything better.

  25. Hmm...

    Is there a “buy one get three tablets of LSD free” deal?

  26. um  

    Selling T shirts is illegal if you don't file taxes. Do we really want another bust on campus for selling illegal t shirts?

  27. Just wondering...

    Does the Rikers Island Mess Hall take dining dollars?

    • ,,,,,

      On that subject, I distinctly recall that Bloomberg either proposed or ordered a restriction of the Rikers Island bread rations about two weeks back, with the intent of burgeoning his credentials as a fiscal disciplinarian-- and perhaps as something of a disciplinarian in general. So now they may have it even tougher than they would have had it two weeks ago.

  28. Might I ask  

    why does it have to be Operation Ivy League : The "Legit" Deal?
    Either delete the subtext entirely or replace legit with real
    Operation Ivy League: The Real Deal
    Although on another note, I have to admit I'm not sure about how I feel about the shirt in general. You might have your reservations about the columbia 5 but now is certainly not the time to be morally righteous, these are members of our community who are going through shit. Stand by them first, then go about anti drug campaigning later

  29. I'd order one

    The whole thing is actually a pretty good idea. It doesn't take a stand for or against the drug dealers, nor the NYPD. It's just sort of an independent positive spin on things.

  30. lemme just say that  

    wilmer cerda and carmen marin are awesome people. fuck the haters.

    i'm gonna miss you guys when you're gone.

  31. anonymous  

    this is wack..i'm not giving anybody any money for anything pertaining to this mess

    you don't need $11,000 to bring awareness to substance abuse & prevention...if people feel some kind of way about Columbia that's on them.

  32. anonymous  

    Horrible tshirt design. I hope the "four students" rethink their plan.

  33. Alumnus

    Comercializing this thing is a more than tasteless idea...

  34. These t-shirts  

    sound like they were made through google translate

  35. save bill gates' money

    Start over.
    The existing mess crafted by NYPD should be left alone.
    Columbia students need to be viewed as using words more appropriate than "legit".

  36. Offensive  

    on so many levels. No matter how much of a positive spin you try to put on this, you are exploiting the ruination of 5 students on this campus. You shouldn't make this initiative trying to openly save face to the public- don't you think they are just going to slander us more for this awkward and dismal attempt at showing school "unity" despite the fact it is well known that we have none at all? You shouldn't have a cap for how much money you are going to raise (The point is that 11k is NOTHING) and it shouldn't be the arrest of 5 students that spurs you on to do this. You should be doing charity monthly, at the least, and should be getting your hands dirty directly (like working at a soup kitchen) instead of selling crappy t-shirts.

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