The Shirt: A Notre Dame Legacy

Today, more than ever, academic institutions and cutting-edge businesses are considering the ramifications of responsible practice in a changing world market. It is no longer adequate to simply generate profits at the expense of jobs and environmental concerns. Consumers are considering not only cost and value, but the impact of their choices on the planet and people.

“The Shirt” offers the Notre Dame family the unique opportunity to showcase their shared values of social, environmental and economic sustainability and responsibility.

SustainU is an American clothing company, founded by a Notre Dame football player and graduate, that produces high quality apparel using fabrics made in the USA from 100% recycled materials to provide extraordinary comfort and wear, while reducing environmental waste, carbon emissions and water use.

A SustainU “Shirt” would not only complement, but dramatically increase the sustainability story Notre Dame would be able to tell. If Notre Dame were to choose SustainU to provide The Shirt this year, the impact could be enormous:


  • Save 200,000,000 Gallons of Water. Cotton is one of the world’s thirstiest plants requiring thousands of gallons to grow enough cotton for just one shirt. SustainU uses recycled cotton requiring no new water usage.
  • Eliminate 400,000 kg of CO2 Emissions. Transcontinental shipping of apparel for production creates a 4kg carbon footprint per shirt. By comparison, steel is twice as “clean” to produce. Because SustainU apparel is made within a 200-mile radius, from spinning the yarn to assembly, the carbon footprint is drastically reduced.
  • Conserve 25,ooo Gallons of Gasoline. The polyester used to make one Shirt is equivalent to 1/4 gallon of gasoline. Enough to fuel a mid-size car driving around the planet 33 and half times! SustainU uses 100% recycled polyester in the making of its apparel saving hundreds of thousands of gasoline each year.
  • Eliminate 1.4 million plastic bottles from the waste stream. One SustainU shirt uses 14 PET plastic bottles, making something cool from essentially trash.
  • Divert 50,000 pounds from our landfills. Every year, each American discards 68 pounds of textiles. This amounts to over 20 billion pounds annually, 10% of the entire waste stream. SustainU uses waste and zero-virgin growth materials in its products saving thousands of tons from our landfills every year.


  • Provide livable wages and jobs for 60 people for a whole year. Most apparel is outsourced to countries where workers are often paid below the UN defined poverty level of $2 per day. Child labor, unsafe and unhealthy conditions, inability to stand up to management are just a few of the difficult circumstances facing these workers. SustainU has opened old US factories in the Carolina region and hired back hundreds who have lost their jobs to outsourcing. Communities are regaining hope as manufacturing jobs begin to come back!
  • Bring hope and dignity to those who had none. SustainU works in partnership with many great textile factories including the Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, the largest employer of the visually-impaired in the world. In a sector of our society that suffers from 75% unemployment, many receive the first paychecks of their lives being trained and working at IFB.

Notre Dame Says No to ‘Made in China’


  • Supports many great charitable efforts. The Shirt supports the philanthropic vision of Notre Dame with profits going to the Shirt Charity Fund, the Rector Fund and the Twelfth Man.
  • Wear a Better Story. Imagine how many more Shirts could be sold if the product itself added to the story and vision of Notre Dame to make a difference in the world. The impact could be enormous.

Share Your Opinion: #ChangeTheShirt

You have a voice. You can make a difference. Notre Dame has always stood for what is right and for leadership.

TWITTER: Share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #ChangeTheShirt. Follow @ChangeTheShirt. Now is the time to take a stand, to make a difference. Go Irish!

FACEBOOK: Like the Change the Shirt 2012 Fan Page and have your voice be heard!





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