A simple question helps the North Carolina Future Farmers of America get a huge response.
What would you be without agriculture?
It’s a simple question. And yet, by asking it, Christian Wilson (2003) helped NC State’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter raise almost $16,000 and fund future FFA students.
It all began with a t-shirt and the three-word answer: “Naked and Hungry.”
While at NC State, Christian served as a presenter for both the NC State and NC FFA Association and was a voting member of the NC FFA Board of Directors. It was during his tenure that he and another FFA member came up with the idea. They approached their advisor and got permission to create the shirt as a fundraiser for the campus chapter.
It was an immediate hit.
The tongue-in-cheek garment became popular on campus and at state FFA events. So last year, when the National FFA announced a T-shirt design contest, the current chapter president submitted the design. The top five designs would be featured in the national catalog, and entrants would receive half of the gross in sales.
The “Naked and Hungry” shirt not only placed in the top five, it became the hottest selling garment in the catalog. At the national FFA convention, the shirt repeatedly sold out.
Since then, the t-shirt’s success has led to the creation of the N.C. State University Collegiate FFA Scholarship Endowment. The chapter’s take at the end of a year of sales—a check for $15,997—became the seed money, helping provide scholarships for incoming college freshmen who are FFA members.
It also spawned “Naked and Hungry” day at NC State. The annual event raises funds for the endowment through sales of the infamous shirt. It’s also an opportunity for student groups to collect food and clothing donations. At this year’s event, the Collegiate 4-H and Animal Science program together gave over 500 cans and 100 items of clothing.
Christian remains active in FFA, though these days his interactions are with younger members—his students. He teaches agriculture at Southern Guilford High School and coaches Men’s Soccer.
Read more about the FFA and its fundraiser in the spring issue of NC State’s Perspectives.