Spinning Straw Into Nickels

Somewhere between putting a quarter into a jar every time you swear to break yourself of the habit, and LGBT groups taking pledges from the community to raise donations per minute they are protested by hate groups like Westboro Baptist Church, is the new, single-campus campaign, Nickels For Change

Two college women, fed up with the casual -isms they hear every day at their male-dominated science and engineering college, have decided to turn the prejudice into profit for a charity they will choose by year's end.  The idea is, every time they hear a rape joke, misogyny, racism, or other -ism coming from the people around them, they will donate a nickel to the Jar.  While they do this, they'll be raising awareness with letter-writing campaigns, and at the end of the year, they plan to total it up and donate the sum to an anti-violence organization.  They'll publicize the total to those they contacted, in the hopes that the sheer weight of evidence - "You raised HOW MUCH at a nickel per incident?" - might shame people into better behavior. 

I think this is a great idea.  Particularly taking place on a college campus as it is.  Colleges like to look good to parents of prospective students, and who knows how motivated they might be to make their campus a friendlier atmosphere for the diverse groups whose money they would undoubtedly be happy to take, by the public knowledge of how far they currently fall short of the mark?  It's hard to claim your college as a great place to go, when you've got a couple of activists holding out a total and saying "This is what your atmosphere *actually* is." 

I wish them luck.  Am I old enough to say how I wish more young people were like these two?  ;-)


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