Sophomore environmental health major Miguel Garcia started the Facebook group â€œI PARTY FOCOâ€ for about 30 close friends as a convenience for party invitations.
Instead of contacting each of their friends to invite them, party hosts could post an event description on the site for all members to see. Since its creation in January, the groupâ€™s membership has ballooned to more than 2,000.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t meant to be a big group,â€ Garcia said.
The groupâ€™s 30 or so original members purchased custom-printed shirts with the siteâ€™s logo, a play on the classic â€œI Love NYâ€ design. The logo uses the image of a red plastic cup in place of the word â€œLove,â€ and used â€œFOCOâ€ instead of â€œNY.â€
Because of the groupâ€™s unexpected popularity, Garcia and his friends now sell the shirts for $15 each. The proceeds from the sales go to local charities, like the Homeless Awareness Team, HAT, or the Devon Arnold Scholarship Fund, which was created after the death of CSU student Devon Arnold, a close friend of Garciaâ€™s who was killed by a train in February.
â€œ(Garcia) has such great ideas,â€ said Jordan Tranel, president and founder of HAT. â€œThis whole experience has been great.â€
Tranel provided some of the funding for the shirts and helped screen print them. He hopes to use some of the profits from the shirts to build shelves in a storage unit that houses donations of clothes for the homeless.
Since January, the groupâ€™s focus has shifted from organizing parties to benefits and fundraising events.
As opposed to the traditional process of organizing a concert or a party that most student organizations have to go through, Garcia envisions a group for students, by students.
â€œWeâ€™re students too. We can all do something,â€ Garcia said. â€œWe donâ€™t have to deal with the bureaucratic mess.â€
While some of his friends have proposed Garcia take the sales to national level, selling shirts on other campuses around the country, he has no interest in taking his business outside Fort Collins.
â€œIt kind of loses its touch, its college touch,â€ Garcia said.
The first official selling date for the shirts was last Monday. Students could buy tickets in the Lory Student Center that where in turn exchanged for a shirt in their size outside on the Plaza.
Garcia and his colleagues set up speakers outside with the help of local musician DJ Seth DjNvj Abrumz and sold the shirts until they ran out, totaling what they estimate to be about 70.
Collegian contributor Dan Mager can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.