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Open ‘The Shirt’

Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 21, 2006

Call me impatient – but I couldn’t wait to see this year’s unveiling of “The Shirt.” Whether or not you agree with the color used, “The Shirt” is a great way to show our solidarity each and every football game. Unfortunately, as much as “The Shirt” is a great way to show our unity, the process in which the design is selected is anything but unifying. In order for a shirt design to be considered during the annual contest, it must be made and submitted by an undergraduate student. This is ironic because “The Shirt” began in 1990 because of a graduate student.

In 1989, sociology graduate student Zhengde Wang was the victim of a hit and run automobile accident. Although not a single bone was broken, the impact to the back of his neck severed all nerve endings. Zhengde was left paralyzed for the rest of his life and basic skills such as chewing and swallowing had to be learned all over again. The first edition of “The Shirt” was created to help provide financial assistance to Zhengde and his family.

Money raised helped pay for his medical expenses, helped to support his family that came from China to visit him, and later helped Zhengde and his family go back to China. What is sad is that, if Zhengde were still a student today, he would be ineligible to submit a shirt design on the grounds that he’d be a graduate student. This is exactly what some graduate students living in Fisher-O’Hara Grace found out earlier last year as they tried to submit a shirt design.

Freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior or grad student – We Are ND. That should mean more than just dressing the same on game day.

Shawn AhmedGraduate StudentApril 20