Hippies for Hope is a nonprofit organization that spreads some color in children’s hospitals by donating tie-dye t-shirts to children with terminal illness. Business administration sophomore Michael Guidi recently brought a branch of the nationwide organization to Cal Poly.
For every tie-dye t-shirt purchased from Hippies for Hope, they will donate one to a children’s hospital.
“It’s to brighten their day and make kids happier,” Cal Poly President of Hippies for Hope Guidi said. “I don’t know many people who didn’t tie-dye as kids and I really liked that artistic interpretation of things.”
The club at Cal Poly was established and approved by Associated Students, Inc. in early April, making it the seventh branch of the nationwide organization. The Cal Poly branch marks the second branch on the West Coast after UC Berkeley.
The club aims to add vibrance to children’s hospitals instead of only raising money for the cause.
“Hospitals can be really sterile and blank,” environmental management and protection sophomore and Cal Poly Vice President of Hippies for Hope Ginny Dussell said. “Especially for a kid coming from a house full of toys and colors, it probably wears on you while you’re going through this intense illness at such a young age. [Tie-dye t-shirts] are something to put on to know people in your local community want you to feel a little brighter, instead of being alone in a room full of adults.”
They held their first tie-dying event for members on the lawn of Lee Arms Apartments in San Luis Obispo April 7.
“I think we misunderstood how popular it would be,” Guidi said. “We only made 12 shirts and they were supposed to be for the executive board, but there was so much interest that we ended up selling nine.”
They held another tie-dying event a week later at the same spot. Music played from their speakers and friends gathered to dye 35 shirts.
“It’s a really positive environment where we can come together and do something that’s fun for us while helping other people,” business administration junior Emily Holloway said.
Hippies for Hope uses a special non-toxic dye from Dharma Trading Company and a special t-shirt brand, as stated in the national organization’s constitution. This ensures the shirts are free of toxins and safe for children with terminal illnesses.
Once they sell enough shirts, they will match the amount and begin tie dying the children’s t-shirts. The club plans to deliver the shirts to the hospitals themselves so they can spend time with the children.
In addition to donating t-shirts, Hippies for Hope plans to donate all extra funds accumulated to all-girls schools in Ethiopia.
“We liked the idea of an all-girls school because they’re significantly disadvantaged in third world countries,” Dussell said.
This is all in the future, according to Guidi. For now, their goal is to accumulate more members and spread awareness about the club.
Hippies for Hope had a booth at the club showcase during Open House; they also plan to have a tie-dying station at SubSessions’ Life’s A Peach festival May 19.
The name of the club speaks to the initiative to impact positive change, according to Guidi.
“Hippies don’t necessarily have a normal mindset when it comes to following traditional routes,” Guidi said. “They want to make a change.”