Step by Step

Last week I said I would donate all of my spare pens to be shipped to Afghanistan. Well, I did one better. I went through all of my random supplies – things I had around and wasn’t using, things I had in my art bin since I was a kid – and gathered up pens, pencils, markers, scissors, pads of paper, crayons, and anything else that might be useful and donated the lot – including the sack I had brought them in.

Collected Supplies

The supplies I managed to gather together.

It was sort of a liberating and invigorating experience. Things I had forgotten I’d even owned were going to be sent out to really change the life of a child who’s only crime was being born in the wrong place at the wrong time.
FAH Floorplan

The floorplan for the Fine Arts building, FAH

Inspired, I decided to start working on the next step that very day – getting more, and planning events and drives to bring in supplies. I went down to the main offices for the College of the Arts where I am enrolled (my major is studio art, with a specialization in photography) and asked if I could leave a box out so that students could donate supplies. The administrator there was very open to the idea, and rather helpful.

She recommended leaving a box outside the Visual Resources Center, but I was worried that it was a fairly low traffic area and wouldn’t see many students go by. I suggested outside of the drawing room, a well visited walkway, but she was rightfully concerned that less scrupulous individuals might make off with the donated supplies. So what to do?

In the end, inspired by the various fliers for shows on campus – a well known feature in the art department, I decided I would post notices, in as many places as I could, inviting people to make donations in a box left in a safe place. I might also place a box in a “less secure” area, because while the threat of losing supplies exists, I worry that in the end losing the potential donations for lack of visibility might be worse in the long run. Previous canned food drives proved successful and showed that in general the student body is very capable, or at least unwilling to steal from charities. Only time will tell.

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