‘The Shirt’ 2022 celebrates 50 years of women at Notre Dame
Kathryn Muchnick | Monday, April 25, 2022
The Shirt committee unveiled the design for the 2022 Shirt at the Hammes Bookstore Friday. The navy shirt is the first design to feature a woman, celebrating the 50th anniversary of women attending Notre Dame.
The Shirt Project began in 1990 to raise money to fund Notre Dame student activities. The original shirt fundraiser raised money to support the 1990 AnTostal, the Student Union Board’s annual spring festival, and was intended to unify the student body for the season’s first home football game against Michigan.
The project’s second shirt in the fall of 1990, known as “The Shirt for A Cause,” raised money to support a doctoral student, Zhengde Wang, who was seriously injured in a car accident. Around 32,000 shirts were sold that year, generating over $100,000 for Wang.
Since 1990, the Shirt Project has continued to expand. The Shirt fundraiser supports two separate projects —the Shirt Charity Fund and the Student Experience Fund.
“Today, half the revenue is allocated to the Shirt Charity Fund, and that fund is really focused on students with unmet medical expenses,” explained Grace Fjermedal, president of the Shirt committee this year.
The other half of the profits go toward the Student Experience Fund which benefits students, clubs and organizations and makes sure that all students are able to fully enjoy the Notre Dame experience, Fjermedal said.
“It really was a project started by the students, for the students,” she added.
Fjermedal, a senior studying English and pre-health, led the Shirt committee this year after serving on the social media team, the unveiling team and as vice president in past years. She described the lengthy design and planning process for the Shirt and the unveiling ceremony.
The design committee, which was led by senior Anna Frericks this year, begins with a central theme they want to focus on. In honor of the 50th anniversary of women at Notre Dame, the Shirt committee intended to incorporate a woman somewhere on the shirt.
Fjermedal said she hopes the inclusion of a woman in the design reminds the Notre Dame community of both the 50-year milestone and to continue to feature women on campus.
“I can’t wait to see the steps that we are going to continue to take as a campus community to uplift women and make this truly an equitable and empowering space for all students,” she said.
After deciding on a theme, the committee chooses a color, a fabric and any specific images they want on the Shirt. For example, they chose to include a 50 on the back of the football player’s jersey this year as a nod to the 50th-anniversary celebration.
“There are lots of things to take into consideration that most of the student body doesn’t think about when they see the Shirt,” Fjermedal said. “We go through almost 200 iterations of our design.”
Ryan Bland, a first year serving on the unveiling committee for the Shirt, said planning began in the fall, but it was mostly focused on generating ideas for the design and unveiling.
“The spring is about getting the project from a place of hypotheticals and what we want to see to actually making it happen,” he explained.
The unveiling ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on Library Lawn, but it was moved inside of the bookstore due to inclement weather. Fr. Pete McCormick emceed the event, and various student groups, including the Irish Dance Club and the Notre Dame Bagpipes, performed at the event. Head football coach Marcus Freeman helped reveal the shirt with Fjermedal.
Patrick Smart, a first year serving on the videography team, reflected on the scale of the unveiling event.
“I think the unveiling was a fun little reminder, especially now when we get to the end of the year, about what it means to go to school like Notre Dame,” he said.
Smart also discussed the personal significance of the Shirt, reflecting on when his brother gave him the Shirt immediately after he was accepted into Notre Dame.
“This shirt represents you’re joining us,” he said. “You’re joining the community, you’re joining the family.”