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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M professor Dr. Christina Belanger teaches her Geology 314 class on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in the Halbouty Geosciences Building. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Sporting the Live Strong look

 
 

It began with yellow. Then blue, red, pink and, of course, maroon. An ’80s trend made popular by Madonna has made its way back into mainstream fashion. People across the world are wearing rubber wristbands, or “jelly bracelets,” as they were called two decades ago, to promote a variety of social causes.
Texas A&M’s maroon version of the bracelet is embossed with the “Spirit of Aggieland,” and all proceeds go to the Bryan-College Station chapter of Habitat for Humanity. In addition to supporting the charity, the bracelets also give students a way to promote the Aggie football team.
“Coach Franchione is noted for being a good team-builder,” said Alan Cannon, assistant athletic director. “This is another way to tie in closeness with the students and the football team.”
Cannon said Nike approached Franchione with the idea of maroon “Texas A&M” bands for the team just before the Utah game, where he told the players to take and wear the bracelets only if they were truly committed.
“They really had their first great test,” Cannon said. “After the game, Coach Fran told them he believed in them and that he was still wearing his. He left it up to the team.”
Cannon said the Aggie football bracelets have benefited the players by helping to solidify the team.
“They are a very close group of young men and have experienced highs and lows, not only in athletics, but also in life,” Cannon said. “The Aggie football team feels accountable to each other. Accountability comes from within; however, it’s nice to have something as a daily reminder.”
Cannon said that without a doubt, over any other university, A&M has the best student support in the country.
“In my 24 years here at A&M, we have had outstanding, pretty good, and not-so-good seasons, but there has always been one constant: the tremendous support of the Twelfth Man,” Cannon said. “The bracelets are just another example of the Aggie spirit and an outward show of support.”
The creator of the “Spirit of Aggieland” bracelets, Fadi Kalaouze, Class of 1990, is the owner of Aggieland Outfitters and Inspirations, two of three places to buy the bands.
“We want to honor the unity and generosity that is the spirit of Aggieland,” he said. “What better way to do that than to unite the community to help build a house for a family in need?”
The concept of the bands began as a tribute to Lance Armstrong’s eight-year struggle with cancer. The yellow wristbands inscribed with his mantra, “Live Strong,” were initially sold to raise $5 million for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Nike donated the first $1 million to the project, and sales have quickly surpassed the forecasted fiscal goal.
Kalaouze and B-CS Habitat for Humanity hope to raise $60,000 in proceeds by the end of this year to build the “Spirit of Aggieland” house. As of early November, 18,000 bracelets had already been sold within a four-week time period.
“For just a dollar, you can be part of building a house for a family right here in Bryan-College Station,” Kalaouze said. “We can all do our small part to help those in need.”
B-CS Habitat for Humanity Development Coordinator Mollie Williams said the organization was caught by surprise when Kalaouze approached members with the idea of sponsoring the organization with the bracelet proceeds.
“We have had a lot of businesses, churches and individuals approach us to sponsor houses,” Williams said. “But this is the most innovative sponsorship we have ever had.”
Since its founding in 1989, B-CS Habitat for Humanity has built more than 87 homes for low-income families. The houses are built by volunteers and future Habitat homeowners who contribute 400 hours of sweat equity and buy the houses at cost with zero-interest mortgage.
“I really think we will reach our goal,” Williams said. “We are so pleased and really honored Mr. Kalaouze chose us.”
Rachel Higginbotham, senior international studies major and public relations coordinator for Aggie Habitat for Humanity, said the student chapter is making a continuous effort to support the goal.
“We are encouraging our members to buy the bracelets and get the word out,” Higginbotham said. “We will also support the initiative by building the house when the time comes.”
Higginbotham said she thinks the program is a great idea.
“It draws on what makes Aggieland unique – a dedication to public service and campus unity,” she said.
In addition to A&M, other universities and organizations are uniting across the nation to promote and support their athletic programs and numerous charities. The University of Oklahoma, for example, supports the Special Olympics with the proceeds collected from red wristbands engraved with its football team’s motto, “Finish.” Other examples are the pink “Share Beauty, Share Hope” and blue “Unite to Fight” bracelets, sold across the nation to promote breast and ovarian cancers, respectively.
The “Spirit of Aggieland” bracelets are available for $1 at Aggieland Outfitters, Inspirations and the Habitat for Humanity.

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