Following the University of Richmond's shift to remote learning last semester, rising junior Maggie Raso created a line of apparel featuring designs of beloved off-campus restaurants, hoping to celebrate our community from afar.
Students were able to purchase the apparel through a link, which closed in early July, created by the custom apparel company University Tees, Raso said. The apparel, offered as t-shirts, crewnecks and hooded sweatshirts, showcases popular Richmond restaurants, including Sticky Rice and F.W. Sullivan’s.
University Tees received input from UR students and asked permission from each restaurant before placing a graphic of them on the back of the apparel, Raso said.
Creating the Richmond landmark apparel was not Raso’s first time collaborating with University Tees, she said. She worked as a University Tees's campus manager for UR last year and crafted apparel with on-campus organizations.
Raso said the mission of University Tees had been what was most compelling to her: the company donates a portion of the funds from every order to a philanthropy of the customer’s choice, if the customer opts to do so.
"The artists at University Tees can literally create anything," Raso said. "It’s always exciting to see how happy customers are.”
Rising sophomore Julia Evans said she continued to feel connected to campus through her purchase and had nothing but positive regard for her t-shirt.
“I think that especially now in the times of COVID-19 when we had to leave campus, it’s always fun to represent a place that is far from me but serves as a second home,” Evans said. “[The shirt] also helped me stay connected because I’ve noticed that people often comment on my shirt, and typically that sparks some conversation about UR or the Richmond community in general.”
For the Richmond landmark apparel sales, 10% of the proceeds will be donated to the Richmond branch of Color of Change. The non-profit organization is dedicated to challenging economic, criminal, and media injustice in Black communities, according to its website. Westhampton College Government Association and the Richmond College Student Government Association are also raising money for Color of Change in its efforts to fight for racial justice.
“Color of Change works in not only criminal justice, such as ending mass incarceration, but focuses on voting freedom and the problems within our democracy that need to be addressed to help the Black community, as well as many other campaigns,” Raso said. "Ultimately, I found Color of Change and thought that it highlighted a lot of the social justice issues that we are fighting for today and was something that the Richmond community would want to get behind.”
Rising sophomore Matthew Kirby echoed a similar sentiment regarding the greater significance behind the apparel.
“I think the Richmond landmark apparel is a great way to support a great cause,” Kirby said. “I love how the t-shirts represent our college community and our efforts as students in giving back.”
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By the time the Richmond landmark apparel link with University Tees had closed in early July, Raso had raised hundreds of dollars for Color of Change, she said.
Raso hopes to design other merchandise to raise more funds and continue to support the Richmond community, she said.
Contact lifestyle writer Ryan Hudgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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