One Ohio State organization became an official club this year after selling pink T-shirts for two years without any university support in an effort to “pink out” Ohio Stadium. The club’s official status, however, doesn’t mean it was an easy road there.
Pink Out at OSU, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research, has faced difficulties since becoming an official club, mainly the challenge of making sure the club’s ideas and plans were made consistent with those of the university.
Jim Ellia, a fifth-year in strategic communication and director of marketing and public relations for Pink Out at Ohio State, said it was an obstacle keeping consistent communication with the university and conforming to plans the university had already set for this year’s pink out at Ohio Stadium.
“When we weren’t an official club, we had a lot more freedom to do what we wanted to do and didn’t have to play by the school’s rulebook,” Ellia said.
Ellia said the organization wanted to become an officially recognized OSU club so it would be “easier to get official support.”
“It was hard to get a lot of support the last two years since we were just an independent group with no official backing from OSU,” Ellia said.
Ellia said the club wanted this year’s T-shirt to read “Pink Out at Ohio State,” but the university had already planned the theme “Buckeyes Go Pink.”
It was difficult getting a T-shirt template approved by OSU Trademark and Licensing because the club was told they could not use “Pink Out” in their logo, Ellia said.
OSU spokesman Gary Lewis said in an email the students created the club, not the event itself.
“The theme ‘Buckeyes Go Pink’ was determined best because it can be used for any game/opponent and can be used beyond football for other sports,” Lewis said. “‘Pink Out’ was also potentially at risk of trademark infringement as there are approximately 27 open pending registrations with the words Pink Out.”
Lewis said by incorporating the word “Buckeye,” the theme became inclusive of all those supporting Ohio State cancer research and the Wexner Medical Center James Comprehensive Cancer Center.
This year’s T-shirts have the “Buckeyes Go Pink” logo as well as the Pink Out at Ohio State club name, Ellia said, and the club will be selling the shirts.
Last year, the organization sold 2,300 shirts and raised $12,000. Half of that sum, $6,000, was donated to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research and $6,000 was donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, Ellia said.
The club has raised about $2,000 so far this year through online shirt sales, and the club plans to sell shirts on the Oval and at the RPAC from Monday through Oct. 25, Jessica Chevrolet, a third-year in anthropology and president of Pink Out at Ohio State said in an email.
Lewis said the Pink Out at Ohio State student organization’s passion is notable.
“They have been very successful to date and taking their program to the next level simply required a little better understanding of the trademark differences between an organization’s name, a sponsored event and the considerations of scaling a marketing program,” Lewis said.
Chevrolet said the club went through several steps to become official.
“We had to find an adviser, the president, treasurer and the adviser had to go through special training sessions. I had to fill out online registration forms, write a constitution, come up with goals and create a roster of the officers,” Chevrolet said in an email.
She said the club has not received any funding from OSU because it hasn’t yet applied.
OSU Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said Student Life works with any student clubs with a funding request.
“We are willing and eager to work with any student organization and their funding needs,” Isaacs said. He did not specifically discuss the Pink Out at OSU club.
The group currently has 60 active members, Chevrolet said. She said becoming official gives students an extra opportunity to get involved with a cause they care about.
“Many of our members, including myself, have a very personal connection to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research,” Chevrolet said.
Chevrolet said in a text message that her grandmother was a cancer survivor and three other family members had breast cancer at some point.
This year’s Ohio Stadium pink out is scheduled for Oct. 26 when OSU is set to take on Penn State at 8 p.m.
“At the end of the day, our efforts are all for a good cause,” Ellia said. “Whether it’s our club or OSU pushing it, the goal is all the same. We are going to see a pink stadium this year.”