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Committee unveils ‘The Shirt’ 2021

| Monday, April 26, 2021

In a celebration Friday, the 32nd version of The Shirt 2021 was revealed on the Notre Dame campus and virtually via a YouTube premiere.

The Shirt is an annual tradition for the Notre Dame community that began in 1990, The Shirt committee president Devin Diggs said.

“In 1990, Brennan Harvath was a student who had this idea to sell a shirt to raise money for AnTostal (the Student Union Board’s spring festival) and to raise money for student clubs and organizations,” Diggs said. “He made the first Shirt, and it was wildly popular, and everyone really got behind it.”

Diggs said the second edition of The Shirt raised money for a student who needed help paying off medical bills. As The Shirt grew in popularity in the years to come, the majority of The Shirt’s fundraising has continued to go to those two original causes — student medical bills, and student clubs and activities.

However, Diggs said that this year, some of The Shirt’s funds will also go to the recently established Student Enrichment Fund.

“Now we’ve also expanded [our fundraising] towards the Student Enrichment Fund, which helps students just have the full Notre Dame experience — whether that be participating in extracurriculars or laptops or travel home,” Diggs said.

Each year, president and vice president of The Shirt committee determine what they want the year’s process to look like before the school year starts. This year’s president was junior Devin Diggs and the vice president was junior Grace Fjermedal. Diggs said they started taking applications for open positions in September, and their committee was complete later that month.

The first objective after forming the committee is to choose a vendor, Diggs said. This year’s vendor picking process looked different than in past years.

“We work with the licensing department to get a list of licensed vendors of Notre Dame to send a request for proposal to. And so, we send it to them and then we get proposals back from different vendors, and after reviewing those we make a shortlist again of who we’d like to invite to the campus to present why they should produce the shirt that year,” Diggs explained. “This year that was done virtually but, in the past, we have companies coming in from California and Nashville.”

After choosing a vendor, the team then picks a color for that year’s Shirt. Diggs said that color choosing process can sometimes take up to a month.

Diggs said this year, the entire design process for the shirt was done virtually over the 10-week winter break.

“And so going into break, the designers had an idea of a theme that they wanted and the idea of how that could be embodied in an image or a graphic. They met weekly over break to keep developing those ideas, and the whole committee was involved in providing feedback via Slack,” Diggs said.

The Shirt’s early development, before the start of the spring semester, was “a nice weight off [the committee’s] shoulders,” Diggs said.

The committee then turned to planning the reveal ceremony. The event took place last Friday at Library Lawn and South Lawn as well as virtually via YouTube. The ceremony started at 5:30 p.m. and consisted of student group performances, ND celebrity cameos and the final reveal at 6 p.m.

Isabella Laufenberg | The Observer
The in-person Shirt reveal featured local food trucks in addition to other experiences for students.

Sophomore Mitchell Johnson, head of Alumni relations for The Shirt committee, said the sense of unity that the Notre Dame community receives from The Shirt motivates the committee.

“As Notre Dame students, as Notre Dame fans, kind of the unity that you have when everyone is in the stands of the first football game, wearing The Shirt, we think is really something special, and something that inspires us as a community while we’re making The Shirt,” Johnson said.

Diggs said he hopes this year’s design highlights that unity Johnson spoke of, especially during the turbulent times of the past year.

“We definitely wanted to embody the unity that the Notre Dame community has shown through these challenging times,” Diggs explained. “And also, just how the tradition has remained so strong despite all the different circumstances we’ve been in the past year.”

The Shirt 2021 is now available to order on the Hammes Bookstore website for $18.

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