Co-op, Senate of College Councils raise money for wildfire relief

Victoria Pagan

Thanks to the University Co-op and a handful of students, the UT community can buy T-shirts to support the Bastrop wildfire relief efforts.

Two students on the Senate of College Councils’ Outreach and Development Committee came up with the idea to sell shirts through the Co-op for the relief effort, said Senate spokesman Michael Morton. He said the idea came about Friday morning and by that evening T-shirts were already on sale.

“The shirts were the result of a bunch of people working together like clockwork,” Morton said. “Chris Wynn designed the shirt, and the Co-op liked it, and they got them printed up in a day.”

Morton said the Co-op and Senate are also working with the Division of Housing and Food Service to host a donation drive to collect items for those in need. Morton said barrels will be placed at Co-op locations and residence halls throughout campus.

Hannah Tucker, a co-chair of the Senate’s Outreach and Development Committee, said she doesn’t know anyone personally who lost property or loved ones in the fire, but she wanted to contribute to the relief effort after she saw part of the evacuation process under way.

“I was driving back to school from Houston on [Highway] 290, and I saw the people evacuating and the smoke coming from the fire,” Tucker said. “Just seeing how severe it really was was the main reason I wanted to do this.”

She said Senate members designed a shirt that reads “I’m a BFD supporter,” and Co-op designers came up with one that reads “I heart Bastrop.” Both are available at the Co-op for $10.

Co-op head of marketing Brian Jewell said he was glad the Senate members approached the Co-op with an opportunity to help victims of the Bastrop fires. He said with all of the natural disasters that have happened recently in the country, it feels good to be able to help one that is especially close to home.

“Whether it’s tornadoes in Missouri, floods out east or this, we want to be able to help,” Jewell said. “The cost of the shirts is secondary. That is our portion of the donation. All $10 is going to go to the relief fund.”

Jewell said the Co-op will post their barrels inside their two locations on Monday, and they will be collecting any gently worn clothing and new or barely used toiletry essentials. He said the PODS company has donated a pod to store the donations thoughout the week until they are sorted and sent to the American Red Cross.

“We will sell T-shirts and accept donations all week,” Jewell said. “We have one pod in our back parking lot, and there’s plenty of room if we have to put more back there, which I hope we do.”

T-shirts will also be on sale at the Co-op website.

— Additional reporting by Matt Stottlemyre