Facebook for a Cause: Bookstore, Habitat for Humanity Collaborate in $1,000 Contest

By Paige Kube
Copy editor

In hurried attempts to check Facebook notifications and friends’ new profile pictures, it is easy to dismiss those images or statuses that continually show up at the top of your newsfeed.

Here’s something no one should scroll past!

Washington College’s Habitat for Humanity joined the nationwide challenge to win $1000 for their campus fund. Their method? Blowing up our newsfeeds.

Barnes & Noble started this Habitat challenge, offering a monetary prize of $1000 to the campus Habitat chapter that earns the most likes, comments, and shares on the image on their Facebook page. Luckily, with our bookstore being a Barnes & Noble, WC had easy access to information about how to get involved.

“Shannon [Wyble, the bookstore manager,] came to me and told me that Barnes & Noble was running this challenge,” explained Maria Hynson, advisor of WC Habitat for Humanity. “[She] asked whether the WAC Habitat group would be interested in participating. Of course, we were!”

For those of you who have liked the WC bookstore’s Facebook page, you may be more familiar with the image, shown above, that is posted each morning. For every like, comment, or share of the image, our campus’ Habitat earns one point. (Be sure to like it on the bookstore’s FB page, not on the image your friend may share!). On Oct. 1, the points will be tallied, and the school with the most points wins.

Right now, WC holds first place, ahead of large universities that decided to participate as well; many competing campuses have large Habitat organizations.

“Hearing that we were ahead of really large schools, such as Penn State, just shows how unified we are as a campus,” said sophomore Habitat member Shannon Shirk. “I think it’s a really great challenge. They are helping a really amazing cause; a thousand dollars can help us help a ton of people.”

Although WC is a small campus, almost every student knows someone involved in Habitat for Humanity and the amount of time, effort, and heart that each member commits to the organization and the activities.

Hynson said, “Our friends and family, Habitat partners, WC alumni, strangers from near and far — everyone is showing us some Habitat love by clicking ‘like’ and sharing, and we can’t thank them enough for their support!”

If won, the prize money would go into the club’s budget for the year to help with trip payments and Habitat fees. Each member pays a fee towards the philanthropic events and trips he or she chooses to take part in. For example, the Spring break trip costs each participating student 250 dollars.

“It’s an expensive endeavor to do what we do, as we contribute a significant amount of money to the Habitat affiliates that we work with — in effect, sponsoring part of the houses that we are working on,” said Hynson.

If won, the $1000 prize would perhaps even expand their efforts.

“The money might help more students go on our trips,” Shirk said. “Our advisor Maria Hynson never wants someone to not go because they can’t afford it. So this money could potentially go to scholarships. No one can go completely for free, but there are scholarships and a bunch of payment options.

As the club is anxious to hear the results come Oct. 1, their excitement does not deter them from planning ahead to their Fall Break trip. The team intends to return to the site of their last October trip, Belle Haven, Va., where they team up with the Eastern Shore of Virginia Habitat affiliate. Some students even traveled to Belle Haven in late July for a summer work weekend.

“Fall Break will be our big build,” said Hynson. “We’ve been working as a club to better educate ourselves about the issues surrounding poverty housing, so that we can better advocate for the elimination of poverty housing. Habitat is fun to do, but we always try to keep our real goals—to fundraise, educate, advocate, and build–in the forefront of whatever activity we’re doing at the time.”

This Facebook contest could be Habitat’s biggest fundraiser to date, but it’s not over yet. The continued support and participation from students is necessary for the WC Habitat chapter to keep the lead. In order to participate, students must like the “Washington College Bookstore” Facebook page (see link below). Each day, everyone can like, share, and comment on the Habitat image; each one is a point!

Concerted student effort can allow Habitat to build even more houses and make even more of a difference in the community.

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