- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - While other University of Oklahoma students were tailgating and partying during the homecoming weekend, four Price College of Business students were trying to turn a profit for charity.

Juniors Dani Austin, Daniel Johnson, Arlette Rojano and Lauren Wagner brought their collection of athletic apparel to Campus Corner on the chilly Saturday morning, creating clientele for Evolution Clothing Company.

The Norman Transcript reports (https://bit.ly/1GZsXVx ) they were enthusiastic when describing their mission: they founded the company at the start of the fall semester with the goal of raising money for cancer research and cancer prevention at the Stephenson Cancer Center.

The Stephenson Cancer Center, located in Oklahoma City, is the state’s only comprehensive academic cancer center. The center houses more than 50 oncology physicians who specialize in the treatment of all types of cancer and who provide patient-centered care.

They didn’t seem disappointed to be missing out on the ongoing festivities.

“It’s been good,” Austin said. “People have come by and asked us about our shirts and it’s just getting awareness to help support cancer research. We just love being a part of such a great cause. It’s been really good so far.”

They had long-sleeved shirts in charcoal gray and white, and each were emblazoned with the word “Evolution” with the O and U in crimson. The “L” in evolution extended out under the remaining part of the word, with Oklahoma Sooners printed in crimson underneath. Inspired by the 2015 OU football tagline, the word on the shirts is the same as the name of their newfound company.

“While this mantra is utilized throughout the games and is even printed on the alumni season tickets, it cannot be found on any clothing items other than our company’s product,” according to the Evolution Clothing Company website. “This will decrease all competition our product has in the market, since a customer cannot go to the OU Bookstore, Wal-Mart or even to the Internet to find a comparable item. Evolution Clothing Company is proud to offer this product, which is not only good quality but also unique in the market.”

The company values its product and believes other will, too.

“We got the opportunity to have a really special design,” Rojano said. “This represents the history of football in one word. The football team let us use it because we’re doing it for charity and it’s for a really good cause. We’re the only other clothing company that can hold this design for now.”

The shirts are made and ordered through University Silkscreen in Norman. The shirts are made from 100 percent microfiber polyester that moves sweat away from the body and to the surface of the shirt, where it then evaporates.

The quartet has been marketing and ordering the shirts, rolling them every morning and selling them as a team though the First Fidelity Integrated Business Core (IBC), a program that develops the necessary skills to launch a successful business.

According to the IBC website, companies formed through this program have donated their profits of over $1 million to local charities since its inception in 1995. It has also donated more than 48,000 hours of community service.

Three other student-run companies are participating in the IBC program this semester: OklahomApparel, Lost & FOUnd and OKLACOZY.

In addition to turning over the money the company makes, the students have pledged their time and service to Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Moore and the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

“Not only are we selling a product, but we’re also giving our time and our service to an organization that’s near and dear to our hearts. We give all of our profits to the Stephenson Cancer Center,” Austin said.

The company hopes to ace the course but, most importantly, hopes to make a discernible difference in the community it calls home.

“It’s mostly for the experience of running a business and how to start it from scratch,” Rojano said. “It’s also about giving back to our community, because that’s also big aspect of the business world: the social impact.”


Information from: The Norman Transcript, https://www.normantranscript.com

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