Give a shirt to get a shirt
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 16:02
SGA is challenging the student body to strip the shirts off their back in exchange for a more school appropriate top.
SGA and the UNC Wilmington bookstore have teamed up to produce the “I Give a Shirt” campaign. Participating students will trade their shirts from other universities for a teal UNCW shirt. The shirts that are turned in will go to the students at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, a local middle school that is struggling academically and financially.
The ultimate purpose of the project is to give back to the surrounding community, while also promoting school spirit on campus.
Sara Sonderman, SGA secretary, and Stephanie Garay, UNCW bookstore manager, have worked closely since August 2012 to make this idea a reality. They knew they did not want to simply dump the traded t-shirts at a donation center and thought of the students at D.C. Virgo as worthy recipients of the university shirts that UNCW students will turn in.
D.C. Virgo is located in downtown Wilmington and was closed until August 2012. The school is composed of only sixth grade for this year, but will add a class each year until it has all three middle school grades. A majority of the students come from low-income areas and many student organizations at UNCW, including SGA, have partnered with the school to offer aid.
“These are students who are struggling academically, the school is struggling academically, and so this gives them something to look forward to, something to be hopeful to be a part of in the future,” Garay said. “This is kind of that little sense of encouragement that they can use to help propel them forward in the future.”
SGA promoted the project at their kick-off event on Tuesday, Feb. 26. According to Keith Fraser, SGA president, many shirts were turned in as well as given out. Fraser and the rest of SGA hope the excitement they feel for the “give a shirt to get a shirt” concept will boil over to the students.
“I think the bigger picture in general, knowing that it is going to under-privileged students to encourage them to go to college, is the big driving factor,” Sonderman said.
One hundred shirts have been ordered and Fraser expects they will go quickly. The campaign is being funded primarily by the bookstore and the SGA executive fund. Sonderman is hoping the appeal of a free t-shirt will encourage students to participate.
Garay approached SGA in the fall with a desire to get more involved on campus. With almost a year at UNCW under her belt, Garay thought it was right to get the bookstore more involved with campus and the Wilmington community.
“We were talking about different ideas to get the bookstore more involved,” Garay said. “We really want to be more of an active member of the community instead of just a fixture on campus.”
To Fraser, nothing is more frustrating than walking around campus and passing another student wearing the colors and logo of another university. There are many universities in North Carolina that have prestigious athletic programs, so it is understandable that UNCW might have to compete in the memorabilia department. However, Fraser still thinks taking pride in UNCW and getting more teal onto campus is important.
With a success for “I Give a Shirt,” there may be an influx of teal shirts walking around campus this time next month. For students who are reluctant to part with their favorite worn hometown university shirt, SGA might tell you to think of the students at D.C. Virgo who will receive these shirts and find motivation from the simple piece of apparel.