Jeans for Haiti

The Problem

Today, over 1.5 million teens don’t have a home in the United States. The under-18 group is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. But this growing crisis is not just happening in the U.S., but also in many other communities as well. After the recent deadly earthquake in Haiti, thousands more teens have become homeless. The disaster is a stark reminder that this problem will not go away without action. The Do Something Chapter at UC Berkeley decided to take action.

Plan of Action

Our project featured seven main components to drive action and raise awareness about teen homelessness. We focused on a two-pronged strategy that involved both running our own campaigns, and also communicating our goal to other organizations, empowering them to join us in taking action. Furthermore, because many college students are not teenagers, we named the Berkeley drive “Jeans for Haiti” to better relate to our target audience. This approach effectively allowed us to reach a greater audience with a small amount of internal manpower and financial resources. Campaign #1: Tent of Jeans Photo Station On February 11, 2010, we organized a “tent of jeans” photo station on the campus for the “Teens for Jeans” campaign. A tent was set up on the Savio Steps of Upper Sproul plaza on the main part of the UC Berkeley campus, and was decorated with the approximately 500 pairs of jeans that we had collected up to that point in time. Jeans were draped over the sides of the tent to create the effect of a “tent of jeans” and more jeans were arranged into a “jeans carpet” leading up the steps. Students, faculty, and other Berkeley citizens were invited to come into the tent for a free photo opportunity. While inside, they not only posed for a picture, but also learned about the Do Something organization and the Teens for Jeans drive. With tens of thousands of students walking through the plaza every day, all eyes, at the very least, glanced over to see this odd, but memorable landmark. The chance for a free tent of jeans photo attracted many students to stop by, walk up the jeans carpet, and have their pictures taken inside. Those who took tent of jeans pictures allowed us post these pictures on Facebook. Results: 120 students and community members took pictures. Campaign #2: Collection at Residential Dorms We contacted Resident Directors and Resident Assistants in all five of the residential dorm housing units at UC Berkeley. We asked whether they would be interested in taking part in our jeans drive by starting their own mini-drives in their dorms and asking residents for donations. Furthermore, we wanted to have prominent collection bins placed in all the dorm buildings and have permission to go door-to-door for jeans. Furthermore, jeans were also collected at the UC Berkeley housing co-operatives. Results: Three dorm units allowed us to place jeans collection bins at the security booths located at the entrance to each dorm building. All five dorm units allowed us to go door-door asking residents for jeans donations. The housing co-operatives allowed us to make announcements at their meetings and also collect jeans from residents. Campaign #3: Cross-Promotion with Other Student Groups We contacted over 15 other student groups, including service organizations and the Associated Students of the University of California Berkeley (ASUC) to cross-promote campaigns and events to heighten awareness. Before an event or meeting, the student group would send out an email to members about our drive and remind event attendees to bring jeans to the event. In exchange, we would provide collection boxes, and help promote their event or meeting to get more people to attend. Results: 10 student groups agreed to work with us and cross-promote events. These groups included Alpha Phi Omega, Asian American Association, SMILE, American Red Cross at Cal, SHINE, Amnesty International, BARE magazine, Respect Campaign, Feel Good Berkeley, and Cal Service Board. They made announcements at their meetings and sent emails to their listserves about our jeans drive. The ASUC student government let us borrow collection bins and also gave us storage space for collected jeans. Campaign #4: Collaborative Cal Haiti Relief Week Over the week of January 29-February 5, over 20 campus service organizations and ASUC collaborated to show the strength of the Cal community in support of Haiti disaster relief. All of the organizations tabled side-by-side on Upper Sproul Plaza throughout the week in solidarity to collect both monetary and in-kind donations. Moreover, we also wanted to plan one or two large events to raise awareness and funds. Results: The collaboration yielded 25 hours of tabling together and the planning and execution of two campus-wide events. The first event was a two-hour evening concert on February 4 that included performances by Cal student singing and dance groups and a talk by Professor Darren Zook. The second event was a four-hour afternoon rally on Upper Sproul Plaza on February 5 that featured Cal performance groups. Campaign #5: Tabling/Flyers about Teens for Jeans Campaign Over a period of two weeks (February 1-12), flyers with information and collection dates (Appendix A) were posted in building hallways and classrooms. We also set up a table on Sproul to collect jeans and hand out flyers to passing students. If a person donated a pair of jeans, they could sign the “jeans of good,” which would feature the signatures of everyone who donated to the campaign. Results: 5000 flyers were handed out to students and 1000 flyers were posted in building hallways and classrooms. We tabled on Sproul for 45 hours. At the conclusion of the drive, the jeans of good was put on display in the ASUC student government building. Campaign #6: Classroom Announcements We asked professors for permission to make classroom announcements before class about our jeans drive. Results: A total of 25 professors responded to our inquiries and 20 of them agreed to let us make announcements. We also passed around sign-up sheets for students to commit to donating jeans. Campaign #7: SMS Texting Program An SMS texting system was set up to send text message reminders to students about jeans collection events. Results: 25 students signed up for the SMS texting program. A total of 150 text messages were sent out over the course of the drive.

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