As soon as visitors walk into the Georgetown University Bookstore, Yoda welcomes them on a Georgetown-branded Star Wars T-shirt that reads “You must unlearn what you have learned.” The T-shirt is part of a larger collection of Georgetown Star Wars merchandise the bookstore began selling Sept. 16 in anticipation of the new Star Wars blockbuster opening in December.
Follett, the bookstore’s parent company that provides merchandise for more than 1,200 college and university bookstores nationwide, partnered with The Walt Disney Company to create customizable items to sell at each campus bookshop. The bookstore’s full lineup of Star Wars-branded merchandise includes books, shirts, mugs, toys and cups inspired by the new movie installment “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.”
Georgetown Follett employees approved the sale of the new apparel because they had seen previous success selling Star Wars books.
Georgetown University Bookstore Director Janet Uzzell said that the Star Wars merchandise filled a niche in the bookstore’s offerings.
“Star Wars is big, and we tried to source items that fit the needs of the community and the campus so we can offer diverse merchandise assortments,” Uzzell said. “It gives something else. It’s sort of fun to wear. I think Star Wars fits a little bit more with our campus. We’ve got college students who might be interested in going to the movie that’s going to be coming out in December. Not many of our students are interested in Disney princesses.”
Since the products launched a month ago, the T-shirts completely sold out and were restocked this week. The Star Wars water bottles are also a very popular item, according to Uzzell.
Self-proclaimed Stars Wars fan Devon Schmidt (SFS ’19) said that he approves of the new line-up of Georgetown Star Wars merchandise.
“I think it’ll be great for all the students that love Star Wars just like me,” Schmidt said. “Personally, I’m not planning on buying anything, but it’s only because my closet is already chock-full of Star Wars things.” According to Uzzell, the new items have also drawn younger shoppers, such as the children of faculty and staff members. “We get children, specifically on Sundays, especially with families visiting, or alumni, or people that work on campus,” Uzzell said.
Celia Brätt, the mother of an 8-month-old baby, often visits the bookstore before picking up her husband, a graduate student.
“I really like the Star Wars [merchandise] you can get little kids because kids really tend to like Star Wars,” Brätt said. “But where are the plush dolls?”
The bookstore also has plans to complement its new Star Wars merchandise line with special programming in the weeks leading up to the movie’s release. This month, the bookstore will hold a Star Wars reading and raffle drawing for a Starbucks gift card at a date yet to be announced.