April 24, 2013

Wentworth Strong

A Wentworth mechanical engineering technology student who created an iconic t-shirt to raise funds for the Boston Marathon victims tells the story behind the design.

BY AUSTIN SPEER, BMET '16

After texting all of my friends and family to make sure they were all okay and to let them know I was safe, I had a conversation with a friend and he told me he was going to give blood and encouraged me to do the same. I guess you could say this was the little seed planted in my head. After that conversation, I really felt that I needed to do something to give back to everyone involved in the tragedy.  

I then went down the hall to another room and convinced everyone there to join me in giving blood.  As we all talked about it, John Silva mentioned a shirt that some students at Emerson College had sold that said "Boston Strong" on them. We all thought it was cool, but joked around with the idea because we thought it would cost us more than we would be able to raise. I was curious and decided to search custom t-shirt makers online. I found the perfect website that sold shirts straight from the site and shipped them to the customer’s house.  

John and I started playing around with different designs, which led us to think about what would best represent Boston. I instantly thought of the Boston Skyline! We searched all over the internet and finally found the perfect one that John, Dan, Zach, Pat, and I all agreed on.  We originally made a purple (the color that represents support) shirt that had the skyline with "Boston Strong" written underneath it. Something didn't feel right though.  I then asked as many people as I could through Facebook, text, and people in the room for constructive criticism. After some adjustments, we all agreed that the colors should be the same colors of the Boston Marathon logo, and we should add the date so people know exactly what this shirt stands for when they see it. Finally we had it!

Then, we had to try and sell it so that the order would go through.  Our goal was to sell 40 shirts at $15 each. Honestly, I was a little scared that we wouldn't sell that many, but we went for it.  I made a Facebook event that invited people to buy these shirts to support the victims of the bombings. I had everyone text their friends, family, and everyone they knew! We shared the link on all of our Facebooks and tried to spread the word about this as much as we could. Within about 10 minutes of the link being up, I got a text from a girl that I went to high school with saying she just bought a shirt. I checked the link to see how many we had sold and before I knew it, there was 5 shirts sold.

From then on, it took off like wildfire. It spread all over Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. Within the first night of the link we had sold 100 shirts, raising nearly $700 for the One Fund. Over the next couple of days the numbers kept climbing. After 3 days, we hit 1,000 shirts! None of us ever imagined we would sell that many.

People were still spreading the word when I got a message from an older woman asking if I could make the same shirt in a ladies athletic style so that she and her friends could wear it in their next race and represent the city. I was more than honored to make another shirt for that group of women and was shocked that they asked me to make them in the first place. All we wanted to do was support our city, and help if we could. Our original goal was to sell 40 shirts, which would be a $260 donation.

As of right now, we have raised more than $50,000 that will be donated to the One Fund. This has greatly exceeded our expectations and we are very thankful and blessed to have everyone’s support in making all of this happen.

  • To buy a t-shirt by Saturday, April 27, 2013, and support this cause, click here. The five students behind the project are Dan Sussman, BMET ’16, Zach Cariveau, BMET ’16, Patrick Christan, BSA ’16, Jon Silva, BSA ’16, and Austin Speer, BMET ’16.
  • To read about the other campus events honoring victims, read here.

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