As an incoming first-year student, I was gifted "The Shirt" by the Notre Dame Club of Lansing, the Notre Dame Club closest to my hometown. They had a long-standing tradition of gifting the freshmen in the area that year's Shirt at their annual send off a few weeks before move-in day. When I received The Shirt, I didn't understand what it was or how big a part of the Notre Dame tradition it was, but when I moved in, I soon understood.
The Shirt is the most popular item of clothing to be worn to a Notre Dame game, especially for the first game. I was beyond surprised that first game day on campus when nearly every Irish fan I walked past was sporting the same shirt as me. It really was then that I began to realize what The Shirt and what the Notre Dame family was all about.
The best part of The Shirt is that it has a deeper cause than just being a piece of clothing for fans to wear. The profits from selling The Shirt go to help students who lack financial resources to help them pay for medical expenses, to participate in University programs with outside fees, and even buy football tickets. When you buy The Shirt you can feel as though you are truly helping those at the University that need it the most.
The Shirt represents the unity of the fans of Notre Dame football. It is part of the relationship that students, alumni, and friends of the University share and have equal access to. For many, their old Shirts are reminders of their favorite seasons or even their own college days. For current students, The Shirt is a piece of Notre Dame apparel that will be remembered by them and by generations of future Domers. The Shirt is more than just a piece of clothing, it is a uniting factor that all of our fans can share regardless of their relationship to the University.
For more information on The Shirt at Notre Dame, check this out!