The rise of the SHAGWORM shirt

June 1, 2023, 5:27 p.m.

Would you wear a SHAGWORM shirt? When ResEd announced the new neighborhood names last month, several students were quick to point out that the new neighborhood acronym – which used to spell “STANFORD” – now spells “SHAGWORM.” Students also discovered that SHAGWORM can be scrambled into an unsavory counterpart: “WHORGASM.” Several Fizz posts, a Stanford Daily video interview and a lot of student laughs later, the SHAGWORM/WHORGASM discourse has reached a new stage: merchandise. 

Zane St John ’26, a seller of unofficial SHAGWORM/WHORGASM merch and resident of Sequoia (Neighborhood S), bought the website “” just minutes after discovering the new neighborhood acronym.

“I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with it yet,” St John said. “But I feel like could be useful for something.”

After a couple hours of website and e-commerce installation, he created an online storefront capable of taking orders. He then designed a SHAGWORM and WHORGASM logo using the official Stanford style guide, taking inspiration from free neighborhood merchandise given out earlier in the year. Now, almost a month later, St John says he has received dozens of orders in merchandise featuring his logos and made hundreds of dollars in sales. 

“This is absolutely not about turning a profit,” St John said. “For me, this is about providing this experience to people, turning something that people talk about into something people can actually interact with.’”

A website selling SHAGWORM and WHORGASM merch/
A screenshot from the site (Photo: ANANYA UDAYGIRI / The Stanford Daily)

While began by selling shirts, business has expanded to new forms of merchandise. Students can now put their notebooks in SHAGWORM backpacks, wash their hands with SHAGWORM hand soap and even wear WHORGASM boxer briefs. According to St John, the site has received two orders for WHORGASM boxer briefs so far. 

Hyperion (Neighborhood T) resident Isaac Nehring ’26 owns one such boxer briefs. Despite his apprehension about whether or not he would receive his merchandise, his package came in the mail just a few weeks later. 

“I mean, I love SHAGWORM, but I really love WHORGASM,” Nehring said. “SHAGWORM is great, that’s the mainstream, but to have WHORGASM represent this fine institution is just so unserious.”

Other students disagree. 

“WHORGASM I’m a little bit less favorable for,” said Marshall Kools ’24, a member of Aspen’s Neighborhood Council. “But I definitely like SHAGWORM, I think it’s good.” 

Kools designed official merch for Aspen (formerly Neighborhood A) earlier this month for the neighborhood’s all-campus event “HEATWAVE.” His design, a pale yellow shirt with a chest pocket design featuring a bold “A” and the name “Aspen,” was given out to students for free at the event. Attendees were also given paint and brushes to customize their shirts.

“I’m quite heavily biased in my decision, but the Aspen stuff is better,” Kools said. “The Aspen stuff has a unique design.” 

The SHAGWORM merch sold on the site is based on an earlier neighborhood system shirt given to students at the beginning of the year.

 “I definitely think it’s a good start, but I’d like to see some innovation in there,” Kools said. 

While Kools said he has seen several students wearing his Aspen shirt in the weeks following his event, the past neighborhood system shirts have been less popular. Many students said they rarely wear their official neighborhood merchandise in public. Nehring cut up his neighborhood shirt to wear to the gym. 

Several students contacted by The Daily expressed displeasure with the acronym SHAGWORM and its ties to the criticized neighborhood system. Some students were unhappy with the connotations surrounding “shag” and “worm,” noting that “shag” has a sexual connotation in some circumstances and “worms” generally gross people out. Others responded that they didn’t really care about the neighborhood system either way. Aspen resident Mckenna Beck ’23 said she supported the name SHAGWORM but prefers “WARMHOGS.”

“I’d wear it as often as I wear the current Stanford neighborhood merch,” said Isaias Martinez ’26 on whether or not he would buy SHAGWORM merch. “Never.”

However, other students believe the emergence of SHAGWORM could bring good tidings for the neighborhood system and campus at large. 

“People like SHAGWORM a lot. They also share a lot of the joy in the weirdness and the funniness and the appreciation of the coincidence of it all,” Nehring said. “In that sense, it makes people a little happier about the neighborhood system and lightens up the conversation about something that’s been pretty controversial so far.”

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