GUEST POST: Cammy Nelson, Founder of Rep Your School – Build a School

Cammy Nelson
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Dream Big. That has always been one of my favorite sayings.  Dream BIG, the ability to let your imagination run wild, no holding back. Coming up with crazy ideas and ridiculous questions about why everyone seems to believe so easily that something is impossible.

Then one day, I had the craziest idea ever…what if I made one of my dreams into my reality? That’s all it took. Suddenly, I was on a mission.

Hi, my name is Cammy Nelson and that crazy idea I was referring to is now called Rep Your School – Build A School. What’s it all about? Well, it’s all in the name, actually.  Every college student (and most everyone else) knows a major part of the college experience is being able to wear a t-shirt with the name of their school printed in big letters across the front. This simple item of clothing shows where you’re from and what school you call home for a few quick years of your life. There is great pride in that t-shirt, and it is only worn after a lot of hard work in the classroom. That is where the idea for Rep Your School – Build A School came from.

I was sitting outside my school’s cafeteria waiting for my friends to arrive for dinner. As I waited, I couldn’t help but notice all the UW-River Falls (my school) shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants that were being worn. The next thought that crossed my mind was the beginning of a new adventure: “What if some of the money that was used to purchase those shirts was used to build another school in a developing country? What if by buying a t-shirt we could change the world?” And day one of Rep Your School – Build A School had begun.

This project has been a year in the making (I can’t believe it has already been a year!). It has been a year filled with meeting after meeting, receiving more than one “It’s a good idea, but we’re just not sure…,” phone calls to my parents frustrated to the point of tears, and conversations with friends who believed in my idea more than I did on a few occasions. It hasn’t been an easy road, but that made every small victory seem like I’d moved a mountain. When I finally got the official yes to begin printing the shirts, I walked back to my dorm, unable to decide if I should laugh or cry, shaking the entire way. The dream was finally becoming a reality, and what a reality it has become.

Rep Your School – Build A School is very new (started in the beginning of January, actually). Each day is a new experience, a new lesson to be learned.  Today, Rep Your School – Build A School has become a driving part of my life. While some people may only see a shirt, I see the result of believing in myself and having faith in the belief that anything IS possible. While I still have a long way to go, I know that I can do it because of what I’ve already learned and the amazing support system I have around me every day.

One of my favorite songs by Johnny Lang captures it best: “Don’t you know there’s going to be sweat, and some tears, some hard years; Best believe there’ll be hurt, and some pain, expect some rain. You’re going to make it if you try, keep your eye on the prize. You can take it. You might have to work it but it’s going to be worth it.” Anything’s Possible.

If you are interested in supporting the cause by purchasing a shirt or bringing Rep Your School – Build A School to your school (it can be any school, not just college!), you can email me here

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