Apr 08, 2020

Cotton’s Dirty Laundry Tour

Shaun Ho / The Collegian

One sign you’re no longer a kid is that your mom doesn’t do your laundry.

This is one of the reasons that Cotton Incorporated came up with the idea to start Cotton’s Dirty Laundry Tour in the fall of 2005.

“The idea came out of a model of research done by Cotton about people and what they wear in different life stages,” Andrea Samber from Cotton Inc. said. “And going off to college is like stepping into a new stage in which many wear jeans and other cotton products all the time.”

Since then, the event has included interactive games and the chance to donate jeans for a good cause.

Fresno State’s denim drive that started Oct. 1 molds into Cotton’s tour.

Last fall, USU Productions was contacted about being nominated to host the tour and after accepting, Cotton Inc. challenged them to do the denim drive: from blue to green.

“Cotton’s goal for us was to collect 500 denim items, and we exceeded with 2,600. This year our goal is 2,700,” explained Shawna Blair, USU Productions’ program adviser.

Not only a fashion statement, cotton is recyclable. Unwanted denim in particular can be made into environmentally friendly home insulation, called Ultra Touch natural cotton insulation.

The donations go toward Habitat for Humanity’s rebuilding of homes along the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Shaun Ho / The Collegian

According to Cotton’s Web site 500 pairs of denim translate to 1,660 sq. ft. of cotton –– enough insulation for one house.

This thought is what convinced students to get involved with the project.

“We wanted to do this because it’s such a worthy cause that everyone in America can participate in,” student volunteer Carolyn Harris said.

“Donating jeans is such an easy thing to do because everyone wears jeans and probably owns old pairs they have no use for.

Something so simple helps Katrina victims rebuild their homes. It’s just a good feeling to know we can help people on the other side of the country.”

According to Samber, all of the games that were part of the event were created to “elevate the awareness level of what students are wearing and the attributes and benefits of cotton.”

Students on campus Friday praised this year’s well-attended event.

Winner of a Wheel of Cotton tie-breaking Dance Dance Revolution competition, Thomas Tesler said that the tour was, “the most enjoyable event done on campus so far this year.”

In fact, if you wandered over by the huge white tents on Friday and saw the interactive games being played, you may have noticed that they portrayed a theme of not just promoting cotton products, but of informing the students about how cotton is grown right in their backyard.

To get their point across, the games focused on different aspects of cotton and how it affects consumers.

There was one game involving two money machines in which two students at a time competed to collect labels with higher percentages of cotton.

The winner got to select a prize.

This activity was intended to make students more conscious of looking at labels not just for price but for material quality.

Another game resembled an arcade game, where students had to separate colored balls from white ones and throw them to the appropriate washing machine.

This game was intended to make students pay more attention to separating their white clothing from colors when washing their clothes.

Two games gave away big prizes along with the lessons learned. For the Wheel of Cotton game, participants spun the wheel for a chance to win a custom Tide 30 GB iPod.

The other was a 60-second game challenging players to map the cycle of cotton from seed to clothing items to recycled products, for which one could win an iPod shuffle.

To make such a big event successful, volunteers were vital.

In fact, Samber said that willing student volunteers were one of the factors that convinced Cotton’s Dirty Laundry Tour to return this fall.

“There are a lot of filters and so many logistics Cotton looks at in selecting schools. “We started in the fall of 2005 and decided to return to one school from that year and one from last year, Fresno State,” Samber said.

“And we chose to return because USU Productions was great to work with. The location is prime in the center of a cotton growing industry, and the students were great.”

Miss the event but still want to donate?

Cotton’s Dirty Laundry tour was beneficial to students and Cotton employees and was able to promote and receive donations for a good cause. However, if you missed the big event Friday and want to turn some blue into green, you still have the chance to donate denim.

• Donate through Nov. 9 at various locations around campus, including the USU Information center and the Smittcamp Alumni House.

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