Get To Know Your Neighbors Charity Contest

This contest is over; read below to find out what charity won!

There was a tragic event that occurred this past weekend.  There was a shooting at my university this Sunday morning, which resulted in the death of one of my fellow students and the injury of several more.  Yes, while most of the country was gearing up for the Super Bowl, the campus and city police were arresting people for murder and aggravated assault, while the college administration was reaching out to the state government for help.

I honestly don’t know what to say.  I realize that such happen in life, all too frequently it seems, but it’s still a shock when it happens so close to home, to someone who, even if you’ve never heard their name before, might have walked by you in the hall or stood in front of you as you waited for food in the cafeteria.  One day, there, the next, gone.

Possibly the most humbling thing is that I didn’t even learn about what had happened until I returned to campus on Monday.  Something like this happened, practically in my backyard, and the news managed to stay hidden from my sight.  Even now, things seem to be going about as normal; I haven’t heard about any memorials or ceremonies being held, or really much of anything else being done as a result of this tragedy.

While thinking about all of this, it occurred to me that I hadn’t really formed too many connections with my fellow students.  With 15,000 students at the college, it’s not really feasible for me to get to know all of them, but even the students I do know, my fellow chemistry graduate students, I haven’t gotten to really know them.  I know names and faces (more faces; I have trouble remembering names sometimes), but not much more, even about the people I see and work with everyday.

I’m hardly alone, though; one of the most bemoaned aspects of modern society is how disconnected we’ve become from our neighbors and the rest of those around us.  Our current lifestyles seem all but designed to keep us apart, and it just ends up leaving us feeling alone and depressed.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors Contest

To rectify this situation, I’ve decided to throw a little contest.  In the spirit of trying to improve the world, though, this is going to be a charity contest; if you win, I’ll make a donation of $100 in your name to the charity of your choice.  That way we all win; your preferred charity gets some more money, you get to help them out, and we bother get to feel better about life.

It’s a pretty simple contest, really.  All you need to do is let me know your name (or whatever alias you prefer to go by; I know there’s a difference between chatting with your cubicle mates and leaving personal data on the world wide web), the charity you’re competing for, and ONE fact about you that you haven’t shared online already.  Just one little fact I would otherwise not have learned, and you can boost your favorite charity’s income, at least a little bit.  I’ll choose someone at random from among the appropriate entries.

It doesn’t need to be something embarrassing or weird (and I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t confess to anything illegal on my website; the last thing I need is to have to help the FBI arrest one of my readers), just something I don’t know yet.  To give you an example, here’s one from me: When I was younger, much, much younger, I had a stuffed toy dog that I called ‘Pup Dog’.  He’s still sitting at my mother’s house, although years of being loved and abused by a grabby toddler has caused his mouth to wear away.  He is still pretty adorable, though.

So, there you have it, one thing about me that you didn’t know before now.  Tell me one thing about you I don’t know, and you have a chance to win and help out your favorite charity.

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