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Students’ ‘Pen Sad’ T-Shirt Proceeds To Benefit Coronavirus Relief Fund

Two Penn State students are using their t-shirt-making talents to raise money for a coronavirus pandemic relief fund.

Ashlyn Leston and Domenic Desanta are the creators of the apparel company, Collige Logos LLC. The pair decided to raise money for a coronavirus pandemic relief fund by donating all proceeds from the sale of their ironic “Pen Sad” t-shirts.

The company started in Leston’s dorm room, while she was doing an English project and tried to draw a Nittany lion but “failed tremendously. She then sent her drawing of the crooked mascot to Desanta, who told her that the picture looked more like “Pen Stat” than anything else.

“He thought it would be funny to just slap it on a shirt so I posted a picture of it, and people were like, ‘Wait, I would actually buy this.’” Leston said. 

The duo started their business through Venmo and then registered as an LLC. Due to the brand’s popularity, they started making new designs and reaching other schools. 

“It’s the same thing [for] other schools,” Desanta said. “Drexel is written wrong and the dragon is messed up. It’s supposed to be funny and light-hearted.”

After the coronavirus pandemic hit and Penn State announced its plan to continue holding classes both virtually and in-person, Desanta and Leston decided to take the opportunity to create a new design. The process of creating of the new logo started as soon as the announcement for the spring semester came out. Within an hour, the new logo was live and uploaded.

“People are all talking about it, let’s just put something out there and see what happens. This happened really super fast,” Desanta explained. “I got the idea ‘Pen Sad’ and thought, ‘This is pretty funny.’ In the next 20 minutes, I took the ‘Pen Stat’ logo and I added a teardrop and changed ‘Pen Stat’ to ‘Pen Sad’.”

Just like their previous logo, “Pen Sad” is also a play with words and a parody of the Penn State athletics Nittany Lion Logo. Desanta explained that it came from how upset Penn State students were when they found out that classes were not going to be in-person.

“I was just like it’s more like ‘Pen Sad’ now we’re not going back. I quickly put it together and drew the design and thought it was funny I figured since it was involving COVID if the proceeds should support a relief aid.” Desanta said.

All proceeds for the “Pen Sad” t-shirt go to directrelief.org, a humanitarian aid organization that works directly with people affected by the coronavirus pandemic in all 50 states and in over 80 countries. The organization provides medical equipment, protective gear, and support to health workers and organizations working directly with the pandemic. 

“There are a lot of shortages in things like ventilators and I know that a lot of hospitals were struggling in getting like personal protection equipment. So that’s why we decided to donate to a COVID-19 relief fund” Leston said.

Desanta and Leston also plan on expanding their market to face masks. They are currently working to find a supplier that meets their quality standards.

“We are looking for a supplier with good quality masks that people will actually want to pay to wear,” Leston said.

If you’re interested in grabbing a “Pen Sad” design yourself, head over to the duo’s site today.

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About the Author

Renata Daou

Renata is a junior majoring in International Politics and one of Onward State's contributors. She's from Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil and no, she doesn't live in the middle of the Amazon forest. She likes learning new languages, reading, writing, and talking about the one time she went bungee jumping.
Follow her on Twitter @renatadaou to see her rant in Portenglish or e-mail her at [email protected] for serious inquires.

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