Love Your Melon (LYM), an apparel brand founded in 2012 and run by college students across the United States, has been active on the University of Illinois campus since 2014. Love Your Melon’s mission is to give a hat to every child in America who is battling cancer. To reach this goal, LYM recruits “College Campus Ambassadors” from over 300 educational institutions, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to help with the marketing and sales of their products.

Sophie Lanser, an Illinois engineering student and Crew Captain of LYM on campus, became interested in Love Your Melon when she was searching online for a winter hat to purchase. The rest is history. Since the chapter’s start in December 2014, Lanser said she has been surprised by the success of LYM and the support it has received.

The 20-member team relies heavily on fundraising events and social media to drive people to the LYM website. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each purchase goes toward providing a hat for a child with cancer. Each online purchase can be linked to U of I by selecting the school’s name from a drop down tab during the purchase. Every time someone makes a purchase in U of I’s name, the campus crew gets a certain amount of “credits.” A high number of credits means the crew receives special incentives and recognition from the national LYM branch. As of now, U of I sales have been growing at a rate that is pleasing to Lanser. “When we reached 200 credits, the LYM organization awarded free hats to all of our U of I crew members. They are really great about providing us with incentives and helping us reach our goals,” she explained.

Lanser and the rest of the crew hope to increase LYM sales until Feb. 1, 2016, as they compete in the APEX Experience, a special LYM event that awards institutions with the most merchandise credits with a get-away weekend at a private mountain resort in Beaver, Utah.

To get more information about Love Your Melon at U of I, visit their Facebook page. To purchase official merchandise to support the Love Your Melon cause as well as their partners CureSearch and The Pinky Swear Foundation, visit the website at LoveYourMelon. com. Their winter collection product release begins at 12 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, (Cyber Monday) and includes free shipping and a surprise gift with every order. Be sure to select University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from the drop down menu before purchasing to help the crew get closer to their Feb. 1 goal.