T-shirt giveaway, design celebrates Kent, Akron rivalry

Kristen Kotz

The first 500 students at the Kent State versus Akron University men’s basketball game on March 4 will receive a free T-shirt that was designed by Annie Zakelj, a junior graphic design major.

The contest was run by Kent Black Squirrel Radio and the athletic department. The idea came about with a discussion of how to promote the Kent State versus Akron game as well as Kent Black Squirrel Radio, said Christopher Pinch, a graduate assistant in marketing promotions in the athletic department.

The Student Athletic Advisory Board, which is made up of student leaders from all cross campus, had also expressed interest in doing T-shirts for specific games, he said.

There were originally about 50 entries submitted for the contest. These entries were then narrowed down to seven designs. Students were then allowed to vote on their favorite design at the Feb. 15 basketball game. Zakelj won the contest. She entered the contest because she wanted to see if any of her design ideas were good enough to win, she said.

Her inspiration for the winning design came from the rivalry between Kent and Akron. The design is in Kent State blue and gold colors and depicts the Kent and Akron mascots butting heads. It includes the saying “For the love of the rivalry and the glory of kicking your _______!”

She is excited about having her design produced and students wearing it.

“It will be cool to see people wearing them knowing I made it,” Zakelj said.

Winning the contest also gave her a confidence boost in her major and let her know she was heading in the right direction, she said.

This is the first time a contest like this has been organized, Pinch said. It was sponsored by Coca-Cola and Kent Village Apartments.

The Kent State and Akron basketball game was chosen because of the rivalry between the two schools, he said.

A total of 600 T-shirts with the design have been ordered. About 100 will go to the sponsors. The bookstore may sell the T-shirts as well, but it has not been decided yet, Pinch said.

One thing Pinch wishes he had done differently is advertise more for the contest and given it more time, he said.

He is happy with the way the contest turned out overall and wants to do it again in the future, he said.

“It worked out great, and I would love to do it again,” Pinch said. “We might even do it for football. “

It is also a good way for sponsors to get their name out, he said.

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. on March 4. All students are free with I.D.

Contact fashion reporter Kristen Kotz at [email protected].