The value of a free t-shirt

Maddie Uilk, a senior criminal justice and legal studies major, will conduct her third annual t-shirt drive for Davie Elementary School’s children. The drive asks the athletic department for t-shirt donations and will take place from April 1-12.

During Ulik’s freshman year at NSU, Davie Elementary contacted NSU athletics for volunteers, and Ulik enjoyed helping the children enough to volunteer regularly as part of her Razors Edge leadership hours. Specifically, she worked with Ms. Silver’s class, where she noticed a few needs of the students.

During her time there, Ulik said, “I realized Davie Elementary is actually a really impoverished school. I noticed kids lacked basic necessities. A lot of the kids would show up in the same shirts they’d been wearing for a couple of days.”

After talking to staff about this, Uilk found out about 80 percent of students at Davie were on free or reduced lunch, meaning that percentage of students are at or below state poverty level. She wanted to help, and eventually, she figured out how.

Uilk put all of this information together her sophomore year and took action. She realized NSU students, especially athletes, acquire many free t-shirts throughout the year and spoke to her volleyball coach about doing an athletic-wide t-shirt drive. Then, she spoke to other sports’ coaches to get them involved. She mentioned that even if every athlete gave only one t-shirt, the drive would still produce a couple hundred shirts. Its first year, Uilk’s drive received upwards of 400 shirts, and the second year it reached upwards of 500. To top the numbers of previous years, Uilk’s goal this year is to collect 620 shirts.

As for why the drive has been so successful, Uilk explained, “It creates a ripple effect.” Donating one shirt leads to noticing more unused t-shirts; plus, it encourages others around you to do the same. Before the drive, Uilk said Davie Elementary was often forgotten about, but with her efforts, people have begun to notice and contribute to its students’ needs.

If you are interested in learning more about the drive and possibly contributing t-shirts, email Uilk at

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