Cody Schmitt ’15 and Jessica Graba ’14 sport the shirts that helped them become alumni. Both received Great People Scholarships funded by The Red Shirt.

Student Support

Cody Schmitt ’15 and Jessica Graba ’14 sport the shirts that helped them become alumni. Both received Great People Scholarships funded by The Red Shirt.

By providing thousands in scholarship funds, The Red Shirt leaves students tickled pink.

A limited-edition shirt that helps to give UW-Madison students the opportunity to tap their unlimited potential: that’s The Red Shirt.

Developed around UW-Madison’s tradition of giving back, The Red Shirt is a limited-edition collectible that provides Badgers with a fun way to give back and feel united — wherever they live — in their support of the UW.

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Although the Eighth Edition didn’t go on sale until this past August, it was considered an iconic piece of Badgerwear before it even hit the racks. The shirt’s drawings represent UW-Madison icons and come together in the shape of the Badger State.

Entering its eighth year, The Red Shirt has become a symbol that unites Badgers. Since its inception in 2008, nearly 21,000 shirts have been sold to alumni, students, and friends, with proceeds going to UW-Madison’s Great People Scholarship. To date, 74 UW-Madison students have received one of these
need-based scholarships. The average award is $4,459.68.

“It’s got a mission of giving back and a spirited style that brings out the Badger in all of us,” says Paula Bonner, WAA’s president and chief alumni officer.

With costs rising at institutions such as UW-Madison, many students can no longer afford tuition. In fact, more than 61 percent of all UW students have received some form of financial aid within the last year. The gap between available funds and need is estimated at $15 million.

The Red Shirt’s proceeds contribute to the nearly $700,000 already awarded by WAA and the UW Foundation every year through scholarship programs and alumni chapters around the world.

But there are moments when even students who are years away from taking up residence on campus have benefited from The Red Shirt as well.

Last year, the third-graders in Rachel Rubenstein ’14’s class at Carver Elementary School in St. Louis received past editions of The Red Shirt — the only time when retired editions have been allowed to come out of retirement — to inspire and excite these college-bound Badgers of the future.

Rubenstein was placed at Carver through Teach For America, an organization whose mission is to eliminate educational inequity. She wanted to give her students an extra taste of what college life is like, so she turned to the most spirited school she knows: her alma mater. Said Rubenstein, “I couldn’t be prouder of the world-class education I received at the UW.”