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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

Student committee unveils ‘The Shirt’ 2023 to crowd on campus

The Shirt 2023 was revealed Friday afternoon during a ceremony on Library Lawn that featured food trucks, raffles, student group performances and the special guest appearances of head football coach Marcus Freeman and assistant vice president for campus ministry Fr. Pete McCormick.

Established in 1990, The Shirt supports two causes: students facing unexpected medical expenses and campus organizations that allow students to have the ”full Notre Dame experience” regardless of financial situation.

This year, The Shirt Committee designed a Kelly green shirt, which reads “March onto Victory” and displays a 1960s ND logo. The back of the T-shirt exhibits a shamrock containing four football players whose numbers represent key facts about Notre Dame football. “Rally for old Notre Dame” is also printed across the top of the back.

Friday’s unveiling celebration included a few food trucks, an ice cream truck, photo opportunities with ”Irish” signs and even a raffle to win a shirt signed by Marcus Freeman. Several student groups performed including the Notre Dame cheerleaders and the bagpipe band. Additionally, McCormick moderated a contest to see which of three participants could put on the most shirts in 30 seconds.

Members of The Shirt committee unveiled the The Shirt 2023 Friday at a celebration on Library Lawn.
Sophia CrimiVaroli
Members of The Shirt Committee unveiled The Shirt 2023 Friday at a celebration on Library Lawn.

Sophomore Skye Harris, another member of The Shirt team, talked about what’s it like to be a part of The Shirt Committee.

”It sounded like something super fun to be a part of because it’s such a big part of Notre Dame culture. Just being able to contribute to that, it’s really rewarding,” Harris said.

The Shirt Committee is comprised of about fifteen students of all grade levels who work together to design, produce and organize the unveiling of The Shirt.

Chairperson of the unveiling, junior Ceci Guarnuccio, said the committee began meeting all the way back in September. Choosing a company to produce the shirt and thoroughly evaluating the color takes at least a month, Guarnuccio added.

Another member of the committee, sophomore Emma Brained, talked more about the complexity of the process.

”Even once you pick a color, then [there’s] all the talk about shade and tone and material of the shirt and how that will contribute to color, and I just found that fascinating,” Brained said.

Once the color is selected, the committee‘s task turns to brainstorming the more minute aspects of design. Although not all members of the committee are directly involved in sketching out the exact blueprint, everyone contributes and evaluates ideas. The final draft is finished by the start of February.

Before The Shirt is officially printed in mass, however, the team must evaluate several initial strike-offs to ensure that the colors and designs came out as intended.

Meanwhile, planning for the unveiling starts as early as January to reserve locations, organize student groups and ensure the committee can reserve staging and food vendors.

Guarnuccio, who has organized the unveiling for the past three years, said that between the COVID-19 pandemic and inclement weather, this year is her first time experiencing the unveiling as a full-scale, outdoor event as planned.

Though the design of The Shirt is secret information — committee members must sign non-disclosure agreements — members of the Notre Dame community can still voice their opinions during the planning process.

The team gathers information from a wide audience early on in the designing stage to get a feel for what they’d like to see. The committee frequently receives messages on Instagram and Facebook with suggestions.

While the committee does make the final decisions, Guarnuccio, Brainard and Harris all spoke about their efforts to try and take the thoughts of students and alumni into consideration.

“I really love getting to see the talented, passionate students behind this project,” Guarnuccio said. “Everyone who’s involved in this project is really passionate about putting together this tradition to present to the Notre Dame community.”

Harris said it‘s challenging to keep the design secret all year, but added that her favorite part is “getting to know people that I wouldn’t necessarily know,” as the team attracts members from all grade levels and majors. 

“We wouldn’t put in this much effort if we didn’t care so much,” Brainard said. “And I think that’s really cool, to see so many students care so much about something.”