The Emerson students who created and ran the highly popular Boston Strong T-shirt campaign for marathon bombing victims are shocked to be serenaded with support from a list of celebrities and MTV—and to learn they won free tickets to the August 25 MTV Video Music Awards in New York.
“I still don’t know what to say about it,” said Nick Reynolds ’14. “It’s so cool and we’re so excited.”
MTVU was filming at Emerson August 13 under the guise of collecting footage for a current events program called Campus Dispatch, but the network was actually here to film the show, Random Acts of MTVU, which features college students performing extraordinary community service acts—and, in this case, to surprise them.
Reynolds, Chris Dobens ’16, and Lane Brenner ’13, who ran the iconic Boston Strong T-shirt campaign that raised nearly $900,000 within two months for victims of the Boston Marathon attacks, were at Bordy Theater when MTVU on-air personality and Emerson alumna Quinn Marcus ’13 unexpectedly appeared on stage with a megaphone.
Suddenly a public service announcement appeared on screen with major celebrities donning the familiar blue and yellow Boston Strong shirts and thanking the three students, including Robin Thicke, Jason Derulo, Tegan & Sara, Ed Sheeran, 2 Chainz, Sway, members of Fall Out Boy, and the cast of Pretty Little Liars. The PSAs received corporate sponsorship from Best Buy, Pepsi, and Windows Phones.
“It was mind blowing that they were able to keep it a secret,” Reynolds said.
Random Acts of MTVU will air the Boston Strong segments this Sunday, August 18, throughout the entire day on MTVU, between 4:00 and 5:00 pm on MTV, and between 8:00 and 9:00 pm on MTV2.
“It’s amazing to see so many people involved, to have the companies and celebrities get on board with Boston Strong,” said Reynolds, who was on campus to participate in training for resident assistants. “Having MTVU going out of their way to help us and get these huge endorsements for the shirts will grow what we’re doing on an even bigger scale.”
The three students have begun selling the Boston Strong shirts once again after pausing the campaign at the two-month anniversary of the attacks in June—after it exploded in popularity far beyond expected—and presented a check of $893,940 to The One Fund and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino after selling approximately 57,000 T-shirts.
They signed a new contract with Ink To The People, which produces the shirts, and can now sell the clothing to Canada and the United Kingdom in addition to the United States.