No matter how removed the college environment is from the homeless in our community, there are some college students at Oswego State looking to help out. As part of a campaign hosted by Aeropostale and DoSomething.org, Natasha Santiago has been collecting jeans with her friends to donate to homeless teenagers in shelters.
“Each school who decides to participate will automatically be entered in a nationwide contest where the school who donates the most jeans wins $10,000,” Santiago said in an email.
Santiago collects the jeans from a box in The Point in the Campus Center and brings them to an Aeropostale store where they are distributed to homeless shelters. While the official campaign from Aeropostale has come to an end, Santiago is still collecting jeans to donate directly to homeless shelters, YMCAs and churches in the area.
“I believe I came across an advertisement on YouTube about this campaign and became very interested,” Santiago said. “I am a sister of Omega Phi Beta Sorority on Oswego campus and we are an organization that likes to become involved in community services and hosting educational programs. Therefore, I decided that maybe this would be a great idea for my sisters and I to bring to the campus. “
Santiago brought the idea to the Greek council’s attention, and forged an agreement will all the Greek organizations on campus. Under the agreement, each Greek organization agreed to donate a minimum of two pairs of jeans.
Donations from outside the Greek organizations, however, have been low.
“In all honesty, not many people (aside from the Greeks) have donated any jeans,” Santiago said. “It saddens me because I feel like not enough people are aware that we are collecting jeans.”
Santiago said that she believes getting involved in campaigns like Teens for Jeans would be a great way for many college students to contribute to their community in a positive way.
“I feel that people should always be willing to help others in need,” Santiago said. “And being that the homeless that would benefit from this campaign are closer to our age group, I felt like maybe it would motivate people more because you are helping others around your age who might be struggling.”
Santiago pointed out that most college students are probably acutely aware of the desire for a new pair of jeans or a T-shirt and should consider how it would feel to be literally unable to purchase one.
Santiago expressed disappointment in how few people have shown support by donating jeans, but has still learned valuable lessons from the experience.
“I have also learned that by using your resources, it is very possible to spread the word better and gain a bit more support,” Santiago said.
There is still a box in The Point in the Campus Center where jean donations can be made, and Santiago is also working on putting donation boxes in the lobbies of every dorm on campus.