Group debates color, design of ‘The Shirt’
Karen Langley | Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Both the mission of The Shirt Project and the design of its product dominated discussion at Monday’s Council of Representatives (COR) meeting, as student leaders asked questions and offered input to The Shirt Project’s outgoing president, Katie Fox.
Representatives discussed the controversy that cloaked this year’s Shirt Project, noting the constant student dialogue about the 2005 Shirt’s gold color, as well as criticism of the Shirt’s design and fit.
“A lot of people didn’t like it because they thought it was not Notre Dame gold,” Judicial Council president James Leito said.
For many students, an unfavorable view of the Shirt’s design was even more significant, Leito said.
“Students want to buy the Shirt, but if it has something on it they don’t want, then they won’t buy it,” he said. “Design is more important than color.”
Keough senator Rob Lindley, Jr. took an opposing view, saying he felt the need for an apparently unified student body trumped the importance of the Shirt’s look.
“I didn’t have a problem with the gold color,” he said. “I just thought that the Shirt was meant to be something that would unite us to cheer on sporting teams and support the good of the [Shirt] Charity Fund.”
Half of The Shirt’s profits go to The Shirt Charity Fund, while the other half supplements the student activities fees that support Student Union clubs and organizations.
The Shirt Charity Fund, managed by the student-run Financial Management Board, supports students who need help paying unexpected medical bills and contributes to the Rector Fund, a collection to which rectors can apply to help students with financial need participate in University activities.
Fox echoed Lindley’s call for unity when Leito asked her about the goals of The Shirt Project.
“The most important thing is to unify the entire Notre Dame community behind the football team and the cause,” she said. “That’s something that is distinct about Notre Dame, that the community is so passionate.”
Despite student criticism, the 2005 Shirt boasts sales that already have surpassed the total sales of the 2004 Shirt.
Before Saturday’s BYU game, 75,000 Shirts had been sold, an increase of 20,000 Shirts sold compared to the 2004 total sales, Fox said.
The 2005 Shirt Project also has surpassed its annual goal of $200,000 profit, having made $350,000 prior to the BYU game weekend.
Fox said the change in color in this year’s Shirt is far from unprecedented.
“In the 16-year history of the project, color change has been frequent,” she said. “With Tyrone Willingham’s selection came the change to green. We felt it was time for a new color. The new coach was a catalyst.”
O’Neill senator Steve Tortorello suggested poor student response to the gold color could be attributed to simple resistance to change.
“Disunity is the problem, not with the color change but with a very stubborn class,” Tortorello said. “When you look at the student section, the freshman are all gold, the sophomores are all gold, the juniors are sort of gold, and the seniors are like ‘whatever.'”
In other COR news:
uShannon McManus, the Tri-Campus Representative on St. Mary’s College Board of Governance, was approved without opposition as non-voting member of the Council of Representatives.
As Tri-Campus Repr-esentative, McManus attends meetings at Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s.