Schools Made Out Of Plastic Bottles

Bottle schools are schools built from “waste” plastic soda bottles & other inorganic trash. Entire communities work together, young & old, to make the dream of education reality.

A non-profit organization called Hug It Forward is the catalyst uniting these communities in Guatemala where  kids are being taught environmental education and adults learn different types of skilled labor. The result is a wonderful facility, which is a symbol of unity, to educate present and future generations. So far, 10 bottle schools have been built around Guatemala.

 

The first project in Granados, Guatemala, over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to build two classrooms, containing 2053lbs of trash and using 9720lbs of cement. 297 children and youth currently attend the school, which serves a municipality of 13,860 people throughout 95.75 square miles.

By building with “waste” materials, leveraging the volunteer labor of the community, and by ensuring that 100% of donations are spent on projects (no money is taken for overhead or salaries), Hug It Forward can build a two-classroom school for around $12,000.

Social Media Addiction One Year Later

If you read our blog post from May 5th, 2010, we shared a study conducted by University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda. This study featured 200 students who had to live 24 hours without social media. This meant no access to Twitter, Facebook, email, and even texting. The students in this study wrote blogs about their experience without social media and lets just say it was a traumatic challenge.

Now a year later a new study is released that went global this time. They asked 1,000 students from the United States, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia to abstain from social media for 24 hours They were asked to report on any successes and failures during the experience.

Highlights of the study were interesting. Students actually used the word addiction when asked about their social media usage. Some reported that they felt depressed, lonely, and even shaky without having a social media connection. They also reported that they felt like they lost apart of themselves without social media. This led to confusion and a sense of loss. It wasn’t just access to social media these students lost for a day, they also lost email, music, news, and entertainment. So not only is social media how we stay connected with others and the world, but it is also a way of life. Social media is how people manage their lives and how they communicate.

Although this study shows that a year later we are still addicted to social media, it also helped students realize their dependence. As we are becoming a society that uses social media in our everyday lives, businesses should put their own perspective on the matter.  Marketers and advertisers should harness the benefits of social media for their business. This study should help businesses learn how to use social media and understand how consumers use it. Marketers and advertisers will be at full advantage if they can figure out how to use social media to better their business and attract new customers. Social media has so many facets to choose from, giving businesses the chance to experiment and find what works and what does not.

Librarian from a Small Town Shows Big Heart

Karla Shafer is the director of Hooper Public Library in Hooper Nebraska: Population 827. She’s also the only employee of the library that’s open 23 hours per week. Showing big heart and determination, Karla has been recognized for her efforts to help immigrants learn English. National grants she has won have financed books and literacy classes at the library. Recently, another grant of $5,000 has been awarded to her so she can continue with the literacy program that she started two years ago.

Her story is inspiring. Being the wife of a retired Methodist minister, Shafer found inspiration by the story of her husband’s grandfather who was a German immigrant who didn’t know English and didn’t get any help until an uncle stepped in to help translate his school lessons. The grandfather then became a Methodist minister which was passed down to his son and then Karla’s husband Ted.

Hooper only has a handful of immigrant families, but Shafer recognized their need for help. The library had no bilingual books and she could empathize with how uncomfortable she suspected those families were feeling- like the German boy- when they walked into the Hooper Public Library.

Shafer, who speaks a little Spanish herself, said the goal of her literacy program was to make sure immigrants did not feel unwelcome at the Hooper Public Library and to help them realize their dream of becoming Americans.

The Hooper Public Library is housed in a former grocery store and also features computers to help with computer literacy, five parakeets, and a variety of Wii video games to make the kids feel at home.

Shafer plans to use some of the recent grant money to expand her literacy program to nearby Nickerson, Nebraska. Some Hispanic families there were unable to get transportation to her first English classes, so she is taking the class to them.

Next month, Shafer is getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington DC where she will share her story of how even a “one-girl show” in a small town can make a huge impact to a national gathering of librarians.

Social Media Addiction


In a recent blog post, we shared some very interesting stats about the growth of social media use. Taking it a step further, we look at a study conducted by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda. The study, “24 Hours: Unplugged”, took 200 students and stripped them from social media for 24 hours. That meant no iPhones, texting, laptops, twittering, Facebook, and email. Some of you are shaking right now…

By reading the blogs from some of the students, not only was being “unplugged” a challenge: it was traumatic! The study reported that a few descriptions from the student’s experience were documented over and over: “In withdrawl”, “Frantically craving”, “Very anxious”, “Extremely antsy”, “Miserable”, “Jittery”, “Crazy”.

One student’s post read: “I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening”. Another one said: “I noticed physically, that I began to fidget, as if I was addicted to my iPod and other media devices”.

American college students struggle to function without their media connection to the world. Some students even failed to go 24 hours. While trying to avoid new technology and blaring TVs, the students found themselves surrounded by them regardless. Many students noted how it was “boring” to walk around without an mp3 player providing a soundtrack for their ears. When cut off from social media, many students felt cut off from other humans like they were living in isolation. The research also found that the friendships and relationships of these 18-21 year olds were dependent on technology.

Many students had been appalled when the assignment was announced.  They were skeptical about the purpose and even fearful about going without media for such a “long” period of time.  Many students admitted that they had had doubts from the beginning about their ability to complete the assignment — and those students who didn’t manage to go the entire 24 hours noted that they weren’t surprised by their failure to do so.

So what does this study remind us about business? Marketers and advertisers looking to increase brand awareness and loyalty, should strongly consider social media use. Having a better understanding of each social media method and how consumers use each service will result in providing more appealing content that will engage one’s target market in an effective and ongoing manner.

More info:

Student’s blog: A Day Without Media