NORMAN — Kristin Collins, president of United Way of Norman, visited the University of Oklahoma campus Monday to thank OU, OU Athletics, as well as the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University and other entities for its support of disaster relief efforts in the state.
“We are so thankful to have the partnership of the University of Oklahoma and OU Athletics in serving those in need following disasters such as the May 2013 tornadoes,” Collins said. “The collaborative effort among OU, the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University and is extra special and demonstrates the true spirit of Oklahoma. The funds raised will make an enormous difference in the ability to provide for the long-term recovery needs of affected families.”
Collins joined OU vice president for intercollegiate athletics and athletics director Joe Castiglione, head coach Bob Stoops, and representatives from the OU Bookstore for a brief recognition ceremony at the weekly Oklahoma Football media luncheon.
Thanks to the proceeds generated from the sales of two benefit shirt and direct donations to the United Way from fans during Oklahoma Softball’s run to the Women’s College World Series title, United Way of Norman will be donating over $198,000 to agencies such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army who are assisting in ongoing disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma.
The 2013 Oklahoma Disaster Relief shirt was developed in conjunction with the University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State University and featured the logos of all three institutions along with the phrase “OK Together.” Fittingly, OU will host Tulsa on Saturday at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. OU, OSU, Tulsa and their licensing partners supported the efforts of United Way in this endeavor.
For a third consecutive year the University of Oklahoma has implemented a merchandise benefit program to aid Oklahoma disaster victims. In addition to the collaborative “OK Together” shirt, OU Athletics also implemented the sale of “HOME” shirts due to overwhelmingly positive fan feedback shirt after a similar design was worn by Oklahoma baseball, softball and other teams during postseason competition. The shirt featured the outline of the state of Oklahoma filled with the colors of the state flag and the words “HOME.”
The “HOME” shirt was a cooperative effort among OU Athletics, OU licensee Original Retro Brand and the OU Bookstore. The OU Bookstore has graciously donated all of those proceeds to the United Way, dollars that are also represented in the grand total in today’s United Way recognition presentation.
The United Way works directly with agencies such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army that have been providing round-the-clock assistance to Oklahomans in need. Services provided include opening and operating shelters, case management for those experiencing loss, mobile feeding sites for those working in disaster-affected areas and more. Disaster relief efforts are provided free of charge and are entirely supported by financial contributions.
Almost immediately after tornadoes struck the state in May, the University of Oklahoma followed the lead of President David L. Boren and his wife, Molly Shi Boren, by providing numerous OU resources to assist fellow Oklahomans in need. University residence halls and dining facilities were opened to provide food, shelter and other services to displaced individuals and relief workers. Several members of the OU Athletics family were directly impacted by storms. Numerous members of the OU community responded by lending a helping hand wherever they could to assist in relief efforts.