#WeAllCan: College Signing Day with Michelle Obama

“NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 26: 3rd Annual College Signing Day at the Harlem Armory on April 26, 2016 in New York City. The event, co-hosted by MTV, was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative which encourages young people to continue their education past High School. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)”

There’s nothing quite like walking around with former First Lady Michelle Obama when she’s meeting students for the first time.  I’ve seen her stroll across a campus dorm quad at Howard University, taking a tour with Chicago high school seniors. The roar of college kids pressed against the quad gate and the deafening shouts of “We LOVE YOU!” from the adjoining dorm rooms made think that this must have been what it was like to walk around with the Beatles.  I’ve also been in the room when Mrs. Obama has surprised a group of students on a White House tour—that high pitched yelp followed by clapping elation—the is-this-really-happening euphoria that often manifests in spontaneous outburst of tears that don’t stop, even after getting a hug.

 

“NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 26: 3rd Annual College Signing Day at the Harlem Armory on April 26, 2016 in New York City. The event, co-hosted by MTV, was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative which encourages young people to continue their education past High School. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)”

Since the launch of the Better Make Room campaign, Mrs. Obama and our valuable partners have worked hard around the nation to launch big events, new initiatives and inspiring PSAs. We’ve launched nationwide essay contests through Seventeen Magazine and MTV Founders. We launched Up Next, a texting initiative that provides resources for students. We’ve invited students to the White House for Beating the Odds. We’ve seen thousands of students make commitments to their futures, plan for college, apply for their FAFSA ahead of time, and lock their eyes on the future—where they have the potential to be whatever it is that they want to be. And of course, we’ve put on incredibly high-energy events in New York for National College Signing Day.

And no, not *that* college signing day.  When we’re out there celebrating signing day every spring, it’s not about high school athletes telling us where they plan to play ball, but rather America’s high school seniors standing up and proudly proclaiming where they’ll be continuing to study after high school.  And the seniors do this every year on around May 1, the deadline by which seniors around the country have to let colleges know where they plan to attend.

Last year? We had more than 1,200 events in all 50 states. In NYC, you could walk into Times Square and see student stories, pictures, and tweets plastered on the America Eagle Outfitters billboards.  Because on College Signing Day, students are the stars. They’re the ones who we should be celebrating.  And we haven’t stopped. This is only the beginning. You can go to bettermakeroom.org to register your event, download a signing day kit—and even learn how to win $500 from the College Football Playoff Foundation and Donors Choose for your event.  This year, we’re celebrating College Signing Day on May 5.  So on May 5, grab that college gear and post a selfie on social media with the #CollegeSigningDay and #BetterMakeRoom.

About the Author: Eric Waldo is the Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which now resides at Civic Nation.  Reach Higher encourages young people to pursue and complete their education past high school, whether via a two year degree, a four year degree, or an industry recognized credential, but some education past high school has to be the goal for every young person to be competitive in the global, knowledge-based economy.  He resides in Washington, DC, and is always proud to iron his Brown University t-shirt for College Signing Day.

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#WeAllCan X Project 24

One  in  every  10  people  globally  lack  access  to  clean  water,  with 1 in 4 using  a  drinking  water  source  with  fecal contamination. It’s time we  change  this!  This  World  Water  Day,  March  22,  American Eagle Outfitters is  joining  forces with  Planet  Water  Foundation for PROJECT  24.

PROJECT  24’s  mission is to  build  24  water  filtration  systems  in  24  hours,  bringing  clean  water  to  24,000  people across 5  countries including  Cambodia,  Colombia,  India,  Indonesia,  and  the  Philippines.  American Eagle Outfitters has sponsored  one  of  the  24  clean water  towers  that  are  part  of  this  initiative  providing  critical  support  to  a community  in  need  in  Greater Delhi, India.

American Eagle Outfitters is  honored  to  step  up  to  the  challenge  and  play  an  important  role  in  helping  change the  lives  of  24,000 people  in  a  span  of  just  24  hours. Join  us  and  together  we  will  abolish  water  poverty,  one  community  at  a time!

In efforts to help bring clean water to communities, we are donating 15,000 dollars to build a water tower at Sangat Green Public School in Deri Machha Village. Ajay, a Grade 6 student at the school said, “I carry my drinking water from home as school water is dirty, and it smells bad. I feel sick for days after drinking water at school.”

American Eagle Outfitters is proud to help bring clean, filtered water to thousands of people in Deri Machha.  You can help provide clean water to even more kids in need by visiting www.planet-water.org.

Happy World Water Day!

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Giving Back: AEO Better World Community Day 2016

This year marks American Eagle Outfitters’ fourth annual AEO Better World Community Day. On Thursday, June 9th, more than 1,000 associates from our corporate offices in Pittsburgh, New York City, San Francisco, China, Hong Kong and Mexico volunteered their time to over 30 different community organizations worldwide. We visited everywhere from the Pittsburgh Zoo to local food kitchens to nature preserves. Check out the below images from our day of volunteer work across the world.

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Every year, we work hard to make this day of giving better and bigger, so that we can make a huge impact in helping lives and saving the planet globally. Many of our Community Day projects are grantees of the AEO Foundation. All of the organizations we volunteered with received a monetary donation from AEO as well.

Tell us how you are giving back to your community in the comments below. 

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Love is Love: World Pride 2016

Pittsburgh, Toronto, New York City and San Francisco are not only some of the greatest cities in the world – they also happen to be just a few of the many cities that support a cause that is near and dear to our hearts…Love.

For the fourth year, American Eagle Outfitters is proud to be a supporter of Pittsburgh Pride taking place on the streets of downtown close to our Headquarters on June 12th. And there are many events taking place all over the globe this month! On June 26th, New York City and San Francisco will be hosting their annual themed March and Pride Parade, respectively. We wanted to support the cause too!  So we designed limited edition “Love is Love” t-shirts, underwear and temporary tattoos that will be sold in select stores and online!  To help ensure that these events continue to take place all over the globe, 100% of sales will be donated to InterPride. Read on to learn more about InterPride, what they stand for and the amazing work that they do. 

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Shop the Collection Now: My Bae Is Gay Soft & Sexy T-Shirt, Pride Vibes Graphic T-Shirt, Love Is Love Soft & Sexy T-Shirt, Love Is Love Graphic T-Shirt, #Equal Graphic T-Shirt

InterPride is the international organization that ties Pride together globally.  Members of their organization are dedicated volunteers who organize and work to put on Pride events all over the world.  InterPride’s vision is a world where there is full cultural, social and legal equality for all.  InterPride’s Mission is to increase the capacity of their network of LGBTI Pride organizations around the world to raise awareness of cultural, social and legal inequality, and to effect positive change through education, collaboration, advocacy and outreach. InterPride acts as a source of education and a stepping-stone to elevating community interaction for PRIDE events worldwide.  They promote Pride on an international level and increase networking opportunities and communication among Pride Organizations. Learn more at interpride.org.

If you are going to one of these events or live close by, check out the following United States and Canada stores that are selling the shirts: Phoenix, Miami, Salt Lake City, Ala Moana, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, NYC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Toronto, San Diego, Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.

Going to a Pride event? Tell us where in the comments below.

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A Letter to High-Schoolers: We Need Your Voice!

I can’t imagine how many times you’ve had to listen to people ask about your aspirations and goals after high school. What’s next, Marisa? When do you graduate, Jimmy? What are you planning to do after high school, Jasmine? You’ve heard over and over and over again about college. College is important. College is essential. College, college, college.

Well, sorry to all the Jimmy’s out there, but we agree.

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Higher education—heading to a university, trade school, community college, or participating in distance learning—truly affects your future. In today’s economy, a high school diploma just isn’t enough. Students have to reach higher, which is why the Better Make Room initiative is working hard to rally the country around its “North Star” goal — that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

The process is long: weeks and weeks of frantically rushing to complete college applications. Pouring your heart and soul into your essays. How many times did you pull an all-nighter? How many times did you order pizza late at night while lying in the middle of your room, trying to come up with the perfect words to say to wow your college prospects? How many times did you get home from school, only to find you hadn’t received your acceptance letter yet?

Then one day, your letter arrived in the mail.

All those late nights and weekends spent studying were worth it. You accomplished something HUGE. Something to be proud of. The next step in your life, in your education, in your future is upon you.

Let’s celebrate together.

College Signing Day is an event supported by the Better Make Room campaign for students like you across the country to celebrate their futures and show off their college acceptance letters. It’s time that we celebrate what you’ve accomplished and how the world #BetterMakeRoom for students like you—on your way to change the world!

Show us your #SigningSelfie—a photo with your acceptance letter, of you in your college gear or just of you really excited about where you’re headed—and post it online on April 26, 2016.

If you post it with the hashtags #BetterMakeRoom and #CollegeSigningDay, it might just show up on American Eagle Outfitter’s Times Square billboard on April 26, where thousands of people walk by everyday!

 

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Earth Day: Buy One, Get One…Tree!

This Earth Day, buy one get one… tree!

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) and AEO are partnering this Earth Day to make an even bigger impact on our planet’s well-being. Beginning April 15, AEO will donate a tree with help from SCA, for every pair of AEO Denim X and Flex Shorts purchased (up to 100,000 trees). This initiative will continue until Earth Day on April 22.

Through the simple act of purchasing a pair of shorts, you will be doing your part to help our planet. Wondering what 100K trees can do to help the Earth? We’ve got that covered. Read on to learn about the many environmental benefits trees provide to our planet & the impact 100,000 new trees can have:

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More Fun Facts:

  • 100K trees are enough to create a 1.3 square mile of dense forest or one the size of Central Park in NYC!
  • A large tree can give off as much as 100 gallons of water into the air per day. This has a cooling effect roughly equivalent to 10 single-room-sized air conditioning units operating 20 hours per day.
  • The annual energy cost reduction of a tree is $50.
  • Cities are constantly in need of new trees to plant. The average tree in an urban area has a life expectancy of eight years.
  • The bark of one single tree can provide a home for hundreds of living things, including close to 300 species of insects and 350 varieties of lichens. These plants and bugs then provide food for numerous birds and small mammals.
  • Planting trees remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

This Earth Day, do your part to make our planet a greener place! It’s as simple as buying yourself an awesome new pair of AEO Shorts. If you’re looking to take it one step further, click here to learn about upcoming SCA events in your area and how you can participate.

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