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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#WorldWaterDay: AEO x Project 24

One in every 10 people globally lack access to clean water, with 1 in every 4 using a drinking water source with fecal contamination. It’s time we change this!

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This World Water Day, March 22, American Eagle Outfitters has made a commitment to help lower these staggering statistics by joining forces with Planet Water Foundation  for Project 24.  Today, Project 24 is building 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.  This exciting initiative is designed to give underdeveloped communities access to drinking water, while raising support and awareness around the terrible issues of water poverty suffered by so many people throughout the world.

AEO is supporting this program by sponsoring a clean water filtration system in Indonesia where we have a presence.  Specifically, our aqua tower will be built on Lombok Island, Indonesia, and we will be partnered with the Cakranegara School located in the village of Sayang Sayang.

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AEO is sponsoring this program, because clean water brings hope, health, and opportunity.  Each year, 443 million school days are lost due to water-related illness, and children often don’t go to school, because they spend 2-3 hours each day gathering water for their families.  We are proud to help bring clean water to 24,000 individuals in 24 hours in partnership with the Planet Water Foundation through this project during World Water Day.  You can donate or follow along the journey by visiting Planet Water Foundation at www.planet-water.org.

 

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Wiz Khalifa and AEO Team Up to Help Kids in Need

For those of you that don’t know, our headquarters is in Pittsburgh, PA, home of the Black and Yellow and one and only, Wiz Khalifa. Since we share the same hometown roots as Wiz, we were super excited to team up with him and be a part of giving back to the local community.

On September 15th, Wiz surprised students at his alma mater, Allderdice High School, along with Pittsburgh Sterrett 6-8 and Pittsburgh Obama to deliver the message that working hard will help you to achieve great things.

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“I’m really happy to give back to the kids in my city.  It’s really important to support Pittsburgh as much as they support me,” said Wiz Khalifa.

In addition to his visit, Wiz donated 1,700 book bags from American Eagle Outfitters to be divided amongst the 30 District schools that serve middle and secondary students.

“We are honored to be partnering with Wiz to make a positive impact in the lives of these students and to help them get the school supplies they need to be successful in the classroom,” said Chad Kessler, American Eagle Outfitters global brand president.

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In response to the donation and visit, Pittsburgh Allderdice Principal Melissa Friez stated, “We are proud to welcome Wiz back to Allderdice.  He is an accomplished artist who is known worldwide, but he has not forgotten his hometown of Pittsburgh.   His donation will be used to help students across the District understand the value of being prepared for school and his commitment to their success.”

 

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Help Us Give 20,000 Back Packs to Students in High-Need Communities

As we know all too well, students in high-need communities can face many barriers in their pursuit of a high-quality education. Having access to school supplies doesn’t have to be one of them. That’s why American Eagle Outfitters, STATE Bags, and Teach For America are teaming up to give away 20,000 backpacks to students across the country – with your critical support.

For every STATE backpack purchased at American Eagle Outfitters this back-to-school season, we’ll be giving away a backpack to a child in need.  You can click here to purchase the backpacks online or find your local American Eagle Outfitters store here and turn your next shopping trip into one with far-reaching benefits.

Our partnership will equip students across 20 urban and rural communities with the supplies they need to enter the classroom ready to learn. In addition to receiving STATE bags, students at participating schools will also receive essential tools such as pencils, crayons and binders.

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In New York and Los Angeles, we’re excited for students to receive their bags during STATE’s signature bag drop events – motivational rallies led by STATE’s dedicated team of “PackMen” and “PackWomen” that leave participating kids with a renewed spirit and belief in themselves. Packmen and Packwomen are experienced child development specialists who grew up in low-income neighborhoods themselves and serve as role models and mentors.

In addition to purchasing bags to support deserving students, you can donate at the register of American Eagle Outfitters stores to support Teach For America. Funds will be matched by the retailer – up to $100,000 – to help Teach For America recruit, train, and place committed individuals to serve in our nation’s highest-need classrooms and open doors of opportunity to students.

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Our three organizations are committed to providing all students with access to opportunities that will allow them to succeed in school and life. We’re thrilled that with your support we can put essential school supplies into the hands of 20,000 students and can help make the 2015-16 school year one that’s filled with endless promise and potential.

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AEO, STATE & Teach for America “GiveBackPack”

You walk to the register to buy your annual new backpack. The usual scenario plays out. You decide which color suits your vibe, pull it off the rack to check out all the features, throw it on to make sure it’s comfy and then of course casually glance in the mirror. You then decide, “Yup…I’m getting this bag.”

Maybe it’s not a big deal to spend $59. Perhaps you’ve been working all summer to pay for the bag you’ve been coveting since seeing it in the American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) stores. Or maybe it’s a future gift from your parents. Whatever the case may be, we want to say thank you. Because you’re not just buying a backpack for yourself, through your purchase AEO will donate another STATE backpack to a local child in need.

Back in 2009, we created Camp POWER – a nonprofit summer camp for hundreds of kids growing up in Brooklyn’s most underfunded, turbulent neighborhoods. The goal of the program was to get kids out of the loud, hot city. But more than that, we wanted to provide positive role models, and give kids a space to try different things and meet new friends. A place that allows them to simply act their age. So many kids in these neighborhoods grow up far too fast. What our program does is slow down the speed of life, and remind them of their incredible value and remarkable potential.

Each summer, we witnessed countless kids carrying all their belongings in trash bags. It became more and more clear that in addition to a week away from Brooklyn, the kids also needed new bags, new jackets, shoes, and a whole bunch of “stuff.” But we also noticed that “stuff” could only go so far. It was encouragement from aspirational figures and love that would propel them to beat the odds stacked against them. All of this inspired us to create STATE Bags.

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We built STATE on two cornerstones: 1) for every bag sold, one will be donated to an American child in need – bringing the buy one give one model to our own backyard, and 2) providing inspirational role models in the STATE PackMen/Women – young men and women who have successfully risen from the very neighborhoods we help serve. This is what our GiveBackPack Program is all about.

So as you make your way to the register this season with your (very) cool new bag, take pride in the fact that you’re not just wearing a backpack, but a GiveBackPack. A statement that you made a choice to help improve the world around you.

Thank you to American Eagle Outfitters, its millions of dedicated customers, and Teach For America for making our dream come true in donating thousands of brand new bags – packed with supplies donated by AEO associates – to kids across the US this back to school season.

We promise that every purchase makes a difference. STATE and AEO have your back!

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