Oct. 11, 2002

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Irish fans were lined up at the Notre Dame bookstore Friday morning in anticipation of the third round of the “Return To Glory” kelly green t-shirt sale. Known on campus as The Shirt Project, a student-run fundraiser, it has generated more than $250,000 for student clubs and organizations and has financed a charity fund for students who suffer from catastrophic illnesses or accidents.

A total of 64,000 shirts have been sold to date and another 18,000 were rushed to campus this week in advance of Notre Dame’s game with Pittsburgh. The “Return to Glory” t-shirt sold out (20,000 shirts) for the second time during the Stanford weekend.

“It’s amazing seeing The Shirt and the design get such a huge following in such a short amount of time,” said shirt designer Carl Elkins, a sophomore from St. Petersburg, Fla. “I never thought it would sell out, much less this fast.”

When the project started in 1990, the original goal was to provide aid for a graduate student who suffered injuries in a car accident. That year, 10,000 shirts were sold for the Miami game. Since then, Notre Dame students have worn The Shirt to home football games in support of the Fighting Irish.

With Coach Tyrone Willingham’s “sea of green” goal, sales of The Shirt have taken off. “The Shirt program is so worthwhile because it not only funds all student activities, but it adds to and becomes a part of the incredible school spirit we have here,” said Elkins. “Now adding this year’s shirt to the tradition and creating the sea of green that has garnered attention nationwide, I think that there is an even stronger bond…seeing that kind of unity here definitely feels great.”

The Shirt sells for $15 and is available at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and Bookstore outlets.