Say it With a T-shirt
Chris Smith ’92 (BUS), left, and Jason Jakubowski ’99 (CLAS), ’01 MPA, president and CEO of Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare, at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
Chris Smith ’92 (BUS), Husky men’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer (left), gathered current and former basketball players to help Jason Jakubowski ’99 (CLAS), ’01 MPA, president and CEO of Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare, hand out groceries at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
Smith and Jakubowski were sporting Smith’s latest business venture: Wear Ya Mask! tees. The idea came to him last March, says Smith, while standing in line at a neighborhood shop in Shelton, Connecticut, and watching two guys in front of him get into a heated debate over the merits of mask wearing. Smith says that growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he saw too many arguments turn ugly and dangerous, so he quickly paid for his items and left.
But later that night as he went to sleep, he kept thinking about what he could have done to intervene or to encourage the guy who was not wearing a mask to put one on for the consideration of everybody in the store. He realized that if he’d been wearing a shirt with a slogan like “Wear Ya Mask!” he could have said something without having to actually say anything.
The UConn men's basketball team helped Smith and Jakubowski distribute food.
The next morning he contacted a T-shirt supplier, created a simple design on his computer, and sold some tees to friends and family. A couple weeks later he posted pics of them on social media, which got the attention of Cindy Carrasquilla ’94 (CLAS), his former basketball team manager and now director of public relations at Haddad & Partners, a Fairfield, Connecticut, advertising agency. Designers there helped Smith create the version of the shirt now being sold at wearyamask13.com.
By Lisa Stiepock
Photos by Haddad & Partners