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DI SAAC seeks school shirt donations at Convention

'One Shirt, One Body' program will donate school-branded shirts to those in need

The Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will showcase the student-led initiative “One Shirt, One Body” and ask Convention participants to donate new or used college shirts at the 2016 NCAA Convention’s Division I Issues Forum. The shirts will be distributed to middle school students of the IDEA Public Schools of San Antonio.

One Shirt, One Body was created by University of Notre Dame junior finance major and former track and field athlete Andrew Helmin (who was recently medically discharged from the team due to injuries), and Corey Robinson, a senior liberal studies major and football player. The program’s mission is to unite the student-athletes and school communities by donating excess school-issued gear, specifically shirts, to those in need.

“One Shirt, One Body goes beyond the donation of shirts,” Helmin said. “It symbolizes the hard work student-athletes go through to make it to higher education and provides a palpable difference to those in need while letting them know, with hard work, you can be as every bit as successful as you wish.”

In July, the Atlantic Coast Conference SAAC unanimously voted to make One Shirt, One Body a conference initiative, which catalyzed the campaign. A week later, the initiative drew praise at a national level when Helmin and Robinson presented it at the Division I SAAC’s summer meeting.

Division I SAAC believes the campaign’s simplicity and low cost make it a worthwhile program. Many student-athletes receive new gear every year, creating a surplus of old gear no longer in use. The program keeps people from throwing clothing away while also uniting schools with their community, SAAC members said.

After only one month of formal collection by Notre Dame and the ACC, One Shirt, One Body is approaching 2,000 shirts donated. Division I SAAC hopes the campaign becomes a nationwide, student-led initiative and believes donating college or university shirts at the Convention will help jumpstart the campaign.

"One Shirt, One Body is a campaign started by student-athletes that creates an opportunity for us to show support in our communities,” said Kendall Spencer, co-chair of Division I SAAC and a former University of New Mexico track and field athlete.  “The campaign brings attention to an idea that, despite having different collegiate affiliations, we belong to an even greater community that connects all of us to one another. By donating to this initiative, you strengthen communities that help create the foundation of college sports.”