Hunting for School Supplies!

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This past week Kati and I went on five hunts. Yes, FIVE hunts! I almost felt like the pirate Jack Sparrow trying to find the lucrative treasure. The lucrative treasure being our twenty boxes of school supplies. To better organize my story, I’ve divided them up by our hunts.

Hunt #1

Tuesday night we attended the Holly Casino Night in hopes of collecting a plethora of school supplies. Kati brought three regular brown boxes which we decorated with our flier. With high hopes and high expectation, we strategically placed the boxes at both entrances and waited for the hoard of students and their school supplies to come in.

Cricket. Cricket. Cricket. That’s the response we got from the residents when we asked them for their slightly used school supplies. We also got a lot of “I didn’t know to bring my school supplies. No one told me”. Yes, the RAs knew we were collecting supplies at their event and yes we had a blurb about “receiving an extra raffle ticket for your school supplies” on the Facebook event page, but the lack of communication to the residents were

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plenty. We needed direct communication to the residents via Facebook messaging and not just solely updating the event page. I don’t even notice my own updates for events! We also needed more guerilla style marketing by bombarding the Holly dorms with fliers and bombarding their Facebook with status updates to bring their supplies to Holly Casino Night. Although Kati and I were deflated about our efforts, we decided we’ll take this learned lesson and apply it to our Bull Market event. That was the most valuable lesson Kati and I learned that the night.

Hunt #2

After thirty minutes of depression, heartbreak and rejection (yes, we’re that passionate about this charity!), we decided not to give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try try try

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again. Because we had nothing left to lose, we decided to hop on the Bullrunner and ask the students for any spare school supplies. I admit I was a bit shy to do this but Kati was brilliant. With any new riders, she should bravely ask for any spare pens, pencils or notebooks. For those rare ‘no’s’, she would nicely keep pushing with my favorite line “Are you sure you can’t donate not even one pen or pencil? Anything will really help”. Out of everyone she asked, I think only two couldn’t donate because they literally had no supplies on them. We must have ridden the bus for 45 minutes with a very amused bus driver checking her rear view mirror to watch our efforts.

We received a very interesting suggestion from a student riding the Bullrunner. He suggested we go to the Marshall Center and get the paper people recycled (the paper we throw away because it was the wrong print) and combined them in the manner of a notebook. He suggested we hole-punch the papers and put them in a binder. Better than nothing right?

Hunt #3

At the Marshall Center, we received permission to dig through the recycling bins. Imagine Kati and me, sitting on the floor, sifting through the bins for acceptable papers with a room

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full of puzzled and amused students. Going through the bins, I couldn’t help to think how wasteful we are of our paper. Those empty, blank backs of your printed paper could be used for numerous things like class notes, doodles or to-do’s lists. Instead, we throw those papers away without hesitation. We don’t stop to think that the children in Afghanistan would love to use that blank space to practice their multiplication. Anything would beat doing homework with a stick in the sand.

After getting an appropriate amount of paper (we didn’t want to take too much because we haven’t discussed this idea with Professor Temple yet), we headed back to Holly Casino to claim our school supplies. To our dismay, we didn’t get as many school supplies as we had hoped. We estimated about two boxes full. Two boxes down and eighteen more to go!

Hunt #4

Our last hunt of the night was speaking to the RAs of Cypress. They seemed very excited to support our cause. They started telling us about different organizations they were involved with and would love to have us go and talk to them. They even donated on the

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spot! Between Holly and Cypress alone, we dropped off thirty two boxes for school supplies. I’m happy to report that we now have the support of the Greek, Holly and Cypress RA staff!


Rotaract Club was one of the organizations Kati and I were invited to on Wednesday. Unfortunately Kati couldn’t make it so I went myself. The organization is big into community service so they really like our charity. Neiman, the RA who invited us, let me know that they received a shipment of Microsoft drawstring bags not too long ago and he hopes to get those drawstring bags back and into our charity’s hands.

Overall, I feel like this week was really productive! I can’t wait to see the final count of boxes we get at the end of the school year!

If anyone is on campus March 4, come to Cirque du Cypress near the Cypress dorms from 3-6pm and bring your slightly used school supplies and have free food and free entertainment.

For those of you who didn’t get the chance to see our story, check it out in the Oracle and look at our other story in the front of

About Sarai Quiel

I just graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelors in International Business. Instead of taking the next normal step in life (aka finding a 9-5 job), for 8 GLORIOUS months, I will be teaching English in Malaga, Spain! Obviously because of my choice location, I wholeheartedly enjoy soccer, travelling, photography, reading, Salvador Dali, the beach and living life to the fullest. Click on my blog to read about my life as an expat and my latest travel adventures!
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Awareness campaigns, Education, Partner organizations, Social media, University of South Florida, USF Honors College, USF Housing and Residential Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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