Students looking to help out Binghamton University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter need to look no further than their Facebook newsfeed.
The University Bookstore is participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Build a Future Challenge on Facebook. Binghamton is one of 130 college bookstores competing in the challenge.
Since Aug. 13, the bookstore’s Facebook page has been posting status updates twice a week that relate to the Habitat for Humanity mission. Updates will ask fans to like, share and comment on status posts and the bookstore’s timeline. On Oct. 1, the page with the most likes, shares, and comments will win a $1,000 donation to the campus’ Habitat for Humanity chapter.
“We are very excited about this partnership with Habitat for Humanity and would love to see Binghamton University win,” said Heather Prescott, store manager of the BU Bookstore.
Leonard Riggio, founder of Barnes & Noble College, the owner of the University’s bookstore, and the primary shareholder of the Barnes & Noble franchise, started a huge company project in 2005 to rebuild houses for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Inspired by Riggio’s philanthropic effort, Barnes & Noble College decided to participate in a charitable cause by partnering with Habitat for Humanity. The Barnes & Noble College corporation is donating $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity International this year. To help make a difference locally, Barnes & Noble College started the Build a Future Challenge on Facebook.
The BU Bookstore got word of the competition through one of the company-wide surveys that they receive on a regular basis. This one in particular asked which campus had a Habitat for Humanity chapter.
“We have been involved in a lot of other competitions for the company, and we have had great success,” Prescott said. “Knowing we had a national chapter and knowing that we can get some student results, [Barnes & Noble College] put us on the list.”
Out of 650 Barnes & Noble College stores, the BU Bookstore was selected as one of 130 college stores to participate in the challenge. Having a Habitat for Humanity chapter was a major part of the criteria, as not all campuses have one.
As students are returning for the new school year, the BU Bookstore is hoping to gather more likes, comments and posts on their fan page by using communication outlets such as B-Line. The purpose is to motivate students to like or comment on a status relating to the Habit for Humanity cause, such as true or false trivia questions and charity stories. For example, on Aug. 26, the BU Bookstore posted a true or false question asking if Habitat for Humanity was started by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The answer was false; Millard and Linda Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity.
Some students have recently heard about the competition and plan to support BU’s fan page on Facebook.
“I think that this is a great idea,” said Joyce Ofori, a junior majoring in human development. “Habitat for Humanity does a lot of good for the community and their cause should be supported. I am definitely going to like the bookstore’s fan page to back BU in the competition.”
Phedeline Tanis, a junior double-majoring in financial economics and politics, philosophy and law, said she was happy the competition could bring the school together for Habitat for Humanity.
“I think it’s wonderful that the BU Bookstore is competing in this competition and giving students a chance to contribute to an organization that does so much for the community and our campus,” Tanis said. “I am really excited to see how this will pan out and hope that we will be able to bring home the win.”
BU’s Habitat for Humanity chapter is also pleased about the contest.
“We are honored to have the BU Bookstore supporting our chapter through the Build a Future Challenge,” said Joe Garrant, treasurer of BU’s Habitat for Humanity. “Any positive attention that can be directed towards our chapter, the BU Bookstore and Binghamton University in general is greatly appreciated.”
The organization believes that the Facebook challenge serves as a great platform for students to become involved with Habitat for Humanity. Moreover, winning the competition and receiving the $1,000 donation would have a substantial impact on the organization.
“While our budget and fundraising is usually enough for us to get by, any additional funding for our group is always treasured,” said Garrant, a junior majoring in financial economics. “This money could potentially allow us to bring more students on our spring break trip and give them an experience of a lifetime. We would also contribute a larger donation to the Broome County Habitat for Humanity, who has been doing wonderful things for our community for years.”
He added that the donation could help ongoing relief efforts from the flood that took place a year ago.
“A donation this significant can go a long way for the ongoing flood recovery efforts that continue to this day, a whole year after the 2011 flood,” Garrant said. “We would like to graciously send thanks to the BU Bookstore for their participation in this challenge and to all of our members for their awesome support.”
A victory for BU has a chance to improve the school’s reputation, in addition to helping the University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
“It would be national recognition that Binghamton beat out some bigger stores and bigger schools,” Prescott said. “To beat out schools like Yale, Harvard, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State would be a pretty big deal. It would also give Binghamton some really positive attention, like look what we were able to do here in upstate New York.”