Organization “turns campus pink”

Desiree Bartoe

An extreme challenge confronted students yesterday: “If you like yours as much as I like mine, you’ll feel them.”

The American Cancer Society’s Colleges Against Cancer at Kent State printed this phrase on 600 bright pink T-shirts, which they have been selling for more than a month. Everyone who purchased a shirt was asked to wear it yesterday to “turn the campus pink” and create breast cancer awareness, said Nicky Tobolski, president of Colleges Against Cancer.

“If it was just regular saying or something, I don’t think it would have made such a big impact on campus,” she said. “The best thing is that the saying is eye-catching. It makes people who see it probe into finding out what it is all about.”

People who purchased the shirts received several pieces of information about breast cancer, so if someone asked, they could help relay the message.

“It wasn’t really about the money; the point was to get information out about the importance of self exams and seeing your doctor,” Tobolski said. “People who didn’t buy a shirt are still getting the awareness, and that was our main goal.”

The bright pink shirts could be seen all over campus yesterday.

“I wore (the shirt) because I thought it was cool idea, and it was for a good cause,” said Brooke McNutt, freshman fashion design major. “I have a family member that just got diagnosed with breast cancer, so I am also wearing it for her.”

Kent State faculty also wore the shirts to support breast cancer awareness.

“My grandmother and my aunt died of cancer, and I wanted to support them,” said Pam Struthers, cashier at The Kent Market. “I think this definitely helped awareness. Everything is becoming pink.”

Colleges Against Cancer sold the shirts for $8 each. Members wanted to keep the price low so college students could afford them, Tobolski said. The proceeds will be donated to Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

“A lot of students wouldn’t put $8 down for just anything,” said Betsy Mason, sophomore Russian and pre-med major. “I think people wanted to help the organization but also just really liked the saying.”

Men also wore the pink shirts.

“Our fraternity decided to buy the T-shirts to support the cause,” said Aaron Street, senior marketing major and member of Alpha Epsilon. “I definitely think it draws attention. A few people have glanced my way.”

Kent Outfitters produced and co-sponsored the T-shirts.

“It is a good cause: breast cancer,” said Shawn Carr, owner of Kent Outfitters. “The slogan got people’s attention. This is a college town — you need something that catches the students’ attention. We had people in our family that died from breast cancer so it was also personal.”

The shirts made a huge impact not only on the local community, receiving coverage by the Akron Beacon Journal, Fox 8 News and 19 Action News, but also nationwide.

“Several different people from California, Florida and Arizona called looking to buy these T-shirts,” Tobolski said. “We weren’t expecting it to be this big. It just caught on like wildfire. (Colleges Against Cancer members) were all taken aback by it.”

Colleges Against Cancer has received 100 more T-shirt orders and will continue selling the shirts as long as demand continues.

Contact social services reporter Desiree Bartoe at [email protected].