Following the death of Jodi Fisher on March 17, Cal Poly recreation, parks and tourism administration (RPTA) students began selling T-shirts on Monday to help raise money to support Fisher’s family.
Fisher was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in 2010, after which she made headlines by attempting to fulfill her “Fun List,” which included selling ice cream from an ice cream truck, watching an “Ellen” show live and meeting President Barack Obama.
Through her efforts to complete her “Fun List”, Fisher showed people they could still remain positive in light of difficulty, RPTA sophomore Rachel Stephens said. Stephens is one of the students working on the campaign to sell 2,000 Jodi shirts to raise funds for the family.
“She had this (bucket) list, and she was just really positive,” Stephens said. “It was just inspiring to see how positive she was. And she kind of lived her life you know: ‘Be Kind,’ ‘Be Generous,’ ‘Be Wonderful.’”
Stephens became involved in the T-shirt campaign through her Leadership in Recreation (REC 205) class shortly after Fisher’s death. According to Stephens, her professor, Jeffrey Jacobs, suggested the project because he was close to Fisher.
“When we first started this project, (Jacobs) showed a video of her, and we were all excited trying to figure out what we could do to fulfill her bucket list,” Stephens said. “And then he turned off the video and told us, ‘She died several days ago.’ It was a weird moment.”
The different members of the group have different duties in the campaign, Stephens said. Her job is to make tags for all of the products that tell Fisher’s story. RPTA junior Kayla Weaver, on the other hand, is one of the six group leaders for the project.
“As of now I’ve been working … to plan this whole movement, this whole journey we’ve been creating,” Weaver said. “Everyone working on this project has little to no experience in this area of raising money, getting donations and basically trying to run a whole non-profit idea, including myself. The six team leaders have been working so hard and meeting and talking constantly to just try to wrap our heads around the idea of making this all a possibility.”
Yesterday, the group sold T-shirts with the phrase “What’s on your fun list?” printed across the front for $15 each, $10 of which goes directly to the Fisher family, Weaver said. The rest goes toward production costs and creating a scholarship fund for Cal Poly RPTA students in Fisher’s memory. At the event on Dexter Lawn, students also had the chance to sign a board with their own fun list activity.
“It’s a big message of positivity and funness,” Weaver said.
Though the T-shirts on sale were designed by RPTA junior Josh Pighetti, Josh Jacobson, the owner of J.Carroll — a screen printing business in San Luis Obispo — has been integral in producing the shirts.
Jacobson was first approached by Fisher before her appearance on “Ellen” when she and friend Rani Shah came to him to inquire about making T-shirts for the show. Jacobson said he decided then to help Fisher on an even larger scale.
“I came back and said, ‘Why don’t we just make a website and get some proceeds going back to you and to the family?’” Jacobson said. “Jodi was getting a little publicity from the public at that time, so it just seemed like a good way to get involved and become a part of something.”
Jacobson has continued to work on selling Jodi-inspired products through whatwouldjodido.com, now with the help of the RPTA students, he said. Though the atmosphere has changed since Fisher’s death, Jacobson said people still care about Fisher’s story and want to be a part of it.
“To me, the whole premise is there was this lady you heard about and you say, ‘Man there was this person that people are saying such great things about, and I want to help her,’” Jacobson said. “I think that giving people something to rally behind — and wanting to support the family, wanting to do something — it’s just a good opportunity for that.”
“What’s on your fun list?” T-shirts will be available at the website as well as at the booth on Dexter Lawn through Friday.