By Michelle Floyd
OXFORD - When Oxford College students heard on April 23 that a zebra was roaming the halls of Seney Hall, many laughed and some skipped class to take pictures and talk to news crews.
But when the school's dean, Stephen Bowen, later announced to students that damages to the third floor of Seney Hall could total as much as $10,000, they wanted to help.
A group of students, led by sophomores Adnan Rashid and Katie Larson, created a way to both commemorate the event and help the school.
Larson said the day of the zebra discovery, they came up with an idea to make T-shirts in honor of the event.
"It was a joke at first, but then it got a lot of support from the students, so it turned into something bigger," Larson said. "Someone suggested we also try to raise money for Seney with the shirts."
The students designed a shirt and later placed an order with Custom Ink, a Web site that lets users design and create T-shirts online. The black shirts have a picture of a zebra on the front, and on the back it reads, "I was there when the zebra took over Seney Hall."
Rashid said they placed a small order at first because they thought only a handful of students would want shirts. Soon thereafter, however, they placed an order for almost 300 after the idea caught on with other students and staff when they found out through a Facebook group and word of mouth. They sold out of the shirts in a couple of days.
"We want to thank everyone for their support," Rashid said. "We never thought it would turn into something so big."
They sold the shirts for $15, with most of the money going to cover the cost of the shirts and the rest going toward the repair fund.
A group of students presented a check to the dean for $2,150 Wednesday.
"To be honest, I was not surprised when I learned that the profit would be donated to cover repair costs," Bowen said after he received the check. "That is the kind of thing that Emory students do both here in Oxford and on the campus in Atlanta. They are thoughtful, resourceful and quick to take initiative. And they have a good sense of humor."
Rashid and Larson agreed with the dean.
"If it wasn't us, it would have been somebody else," Rashid said. "These are things that Oxford students do."
Rashid said they plan to order more shirts in the future so more Oxford students, staff, alumni and residents can remember the event.
"People can have a laugh about (the zebra prank), but more seriously, it did cause some damage," Larson said. "It was an opportunity for us (students) to step up."
The prank also affected Oxford resident Curtis Jackson, who purchased Barcode the zebra eight years ago. Barcode was reportedly stolen from his property and placed in Seney Hall. Whoever stole the zebra caused damage to his fences in the process.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at email@example.com.