Notre Dame has and always will be about tradition. Some of the traditions include the team playing in an iconic stadium, wearing blue jerseys for home games, having the Notre Dame band play their halftime songs before games and lining the sidewalks as players walk to the stadium. All of these are special traditions that occur on game day.
There is also a tradition that will be 27 years old this year and that is The Shirt Project. This project was started in 1990 by Brennan Harvath, an ND student who graduated in 1991. Harvath was a marketing major who was the chair of An Tostal Spring Festival committee for the student Union Board. He wanted to raise money for the festival but he also wanted to unify the student body for football games. He had the idea of selling t-shirts and he lobbied Notre Dame decision makers and students about it.
Notre Dame’s first home game for the 1990 season was Michigan on September 15. 9,000 t-shirts were sold by game time. A second shirt was created that Fall but this one was used to pay for the medical expenses of Zhengde Wang, a doctoral student who was seriously injured when he was hit by a car. 17,000 t-shirts were sold by the October 20, 1990 game with Miami. A third shirt with the score of the game – a 29-20 Fighting Irish victory in the weeks after the game. The sales for the third shirt was 15,000 for a total of 32,000. The sales from the two shirts raised $100,000 for Wang’s medical expenses.
In the last few years the shirts have been introduced and sold the weekend of the Spring football game. 9,000 t-shirts were sold in 1990. Approximately 150,000 are sold today and the shirt has become the number one, highest selling piece of collegiate apparel in the country. It can only happen at Notre Dame!
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