Shirt Project unveils gold 20th anniversary edition
Justin Tardiff | Monday, April 20, 2009
After much anticipation from the student body and the Notre Dame community, The Shirt 2009 is finally here – and it’s gold.
The annual unveiling took place outside the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore Friday afternoon in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 people, who watched the big revealing of the 20th anniversary edition of The Shirt Project.
“The Shirt is something unique to Notre Dame and I wanted to do something unique to Notre Dame,” said The Shirt Project president Matt Barloh, explaining why he participated in the project.
Created in 1990 as a way to raise money to supplement the budget for AnTostal, the Student Union Board’s spring celebration, The Shirt has grown into a nationally recognized tradition, as Notre Dame students, alumni and fans wear The Shirt each year in unified support for the team.
Barloh will not know the exact number of shirts sold throughout the weekend, but he said he expects the bookstore will sell out of the shirts, except for the youth sizes, as it has in previous years.
Last year, The Shirt Project sold more than 135,000 shirts, earning more than $600,000 to help fund student organizations and Notre Dame students in need.
“Of the profits generated, half goes to The Shirt charity fund which helps students facing catastrophic illnesses and accidents,” Barloh said.
In addition, The Shirt sales help support the Rector Fund, which enables students, who otherwise couldn’t afford it, to participate in dorm and campus events, such as home football games.
The Shirt unveiling ceremony began at 4 p.m. on Friday and featured speakers, free food and drinks and activities for children. Speeches from former Notre Dame football head coach Lou Holtz and Officer Tim McCarthy of the Indiana State Police, as well as performances by the Glee Club and the Marching Band, generated excitement for the 2009 football season. Members of The Shirt Project honored each year of The Shirt to mark the 20th anniversary, with former presidents and advisors of The Shirt committee present, Barloh said.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day,” Barloh said. “The sun made the gold look great.”
Barloh, who became involved in The Shirt Project during his freshman year, said the planning of The Shirt began in November of 2008, led by a committee of about five students who designed and marketed The Shirt Project.
“We wanted to create a shirt students would want to wear,” Barloh explained.
As The Shirt Project Web site explains, the idea behind this year’s design is that no matter what the obstacle, Notre Dame students, alumni and fans must fight and defend their school.
“The design of The Shirt 2009 captures the fanatical devotion of the Notre Dame football faithful and illustrates the need to fight in defense of Notre Dame,” The Shirt Project site said.
The “Rise and Strike,” emblazoned on the front of The Shirt is inspired by the song, “Hike, Notre Dame,” and calls for the Notre Dame community, in support of our team to “fight with force and ferocity,” the site said.
“People had questions about what “Rise and Strike” means, but when we tell them, they tend to like it even more,” Barloh said.
The image on the back of The Shirt was taken from the Snow Bowl of 1992 against Penn State “as a tribute to the countless football players who have defended the honor of Notre Dame in years past,” the site said.
Sophomore Maureen Champa approved of the new The Shirt.
“I like the gold,” sophomore Maureen Champa said. “They’ve never done the gold before, so I think it’s good. I’m excited to wear The Shirt. It’s a good purchase.”
Other students were not sure of the color choice for this year’s shirt, with complaints ranging from the student section looking terrible in such a light color to the fact that you can’t fashionably wear khakis with a gold shirt.
Barloh addressed complaints about how the shirt will look in the stadium on game days.
“The best example of how it will look en masse is the band, who all wore the shirt for the Blue-Gold game,” Barloh said. “I am absolutely confident that [the gold] will pop when the stadium is filled to the brim.”