Leap Day: What’s on your “Leap List”?

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In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s February 29th. Things that happen on this date technically only happen every four years…That makes for a long time between birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I remember meeting a man when I was little who argued that he was only 20 years old, even though he was actually 80. By his argument, however, he had only had 20 “birthdays”. So, regardless of how you figure it, Leap Day is one of those fun occurrences that makes you want to go out and do something fun or memorable or adventurous . . .

This got me thinking about the new Honda CR-V commercials featuring the Leap List campaign. The commercials originally featured people who had goals they wanted to achieve before making a big “leap” . . . like having a baby  . . . or getting married . . . Then, they became more general, like this one about a guy who wanted to see where his Grandma grew up…

These commercials are part of a new campaign by Honda that includes a cool online “Leap List” creator. You can create a list of things that YOU want to do . . . Your own personal “Leap List” that you can share with friends on Facebook and check off your goals as you complete them. So, in the spirit of Leap Day, I created my own “Leap List” to share on the site . . .

As you can see from my list, I’m going to be pretty busy over the next two years if I plan to complete my list. But, it will be fun to try.  I even have a chance to win a year’s worth of gas by submitting my list to the Honda Leap List Contest.

One day . . . I will be able to look at my Leap List and be this girl . . .

So, this Leap Day, I encourage you to create your own Leap List . . . or Bucket List . . . or “stuff to do before I die” list. Then, get out there and start doing! 😉

Happy Leap Day!

Rebekah

Disclaimer: This post is in no way supported by, endorsed or paid for by Honda. All copyrighted materials remain the property of Honda and are intended to comply with the Fair Use Policy.

Go Walk America: My 1,000 mile and $1,000 Challenge

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What is Go Walk America?

Everyone has that friend who not only inspires you to do great things, but also goes out and does great things themselves. They put aside their own personal well-being to dedicate their time and energy to help others. For me, Barrett Keene is that kind of friend. He is a Ph. D. student at Cornell University and found a way to integrate his graduate research into an amazing cross-country awareness and fundraising campaign to help others!

Barrett has dedicated 2012 to walk across America–3,488 miles between Miami and San Francisco–to help raise awareness about the harsh realities that millions of orphans in America and other countries face on a daily basis.

You can find out more about Barrett’s progress and his specific route by visiting the Go Walk America blog.

Photo courtesy of Go Walk America & LegacyChamp

What is the Global Orphan Project?

Barrett will be partnering with GO Threads, an initiative of The Global Orphan Project (GO Project), to lead individuals and organizations to sponsor 25,000 school uniforms ($20 each) for orphans and other children living in rags. Without proper clothing, children are not allowed to attend school. Therefore, they are unable to get an education and better themselves. GO Threads has created a system which allows for local citizens to gain employment in GO Threads sewing centers, which not only provides uniforms for children, but also improves the local economy.  Your TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation will help create uniforms, jobs and a better economy! Consider it a Three for One deal!

How You Can Help!

For Barrett, his “walk” is literally walking 20 miles a day, everyday, until he reaches the Pacific Coast. Since I am in graduate school full-time in Tennessee, I won’t be able to go walk to California. Instead, I have pledged to walk 1,000 miles and raise at least $1,000 by December 2012. 

You can help me by:

1) Donating $20 to sponsor a child’s uniform (Donate here),

2) Pledging a certain amount per mile that I walk (Make your pledge here),

3) Joining the LegacyChamp 350,000 Mile Challenge (Read more here),

and\or

4) Encouraging friends to walk, donate or pledge to donate later!

Regardless of how you choose to help, you will be increasing awareness and providing vital resources to help the Global Orphan Project and the GO Threads Initiative to improve the lives of orphans worldwide!

Thanks for all you do to help!

CONNECT WITH GO WALK AMERICA

Read the blog: GO Walk America

Like Them on Facebook: GO Walk America

Follow Them on Twitter: @BarrettKeene

Add Them on Google+: Go Walk America

Join the 350,000 Mile Challenge: LegacyChamp\GWA


An Open Letter to Terence Loose on the Future of Agriculture Careers

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Below is the letter I emailed to Mr. Terence Loose regarding this article:

Dear Mr. Loose,

My name is Rebekah Bowen. I am a graduate student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication with an emphasis in Communication and Social Media.

I grew up on a small family farm in South Georgia, where I learned the value of faith, family and hard work. I was raised being an active part of both 4-H and FFA youth development organizations which have taught me many life skills and helped encourage me to seek a degree in an area I was passionate about.

This led me to study Agricultural Communications at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (A.S., 2007), the University of Georgia (B.S., Magna Cum Laud, 2010) and the University of Tennessee (M.S., 2012). These degrees which you have called “Useless” have provided me with learning experiences that are very diverse and have equipped me to pursue a job in many different areas.  As I look toward graduation in May, I am actively applying for jobs. While many of my friends who will be graduating in May face an uncertain future in the job market, I find that I am highly qualified (Thanks to those “useless” degrees!) to apply for a plethora of jobs. Not only am I qualified to apply for these jobs, but there are actually job openings available that I am highly interested in. Some of the companies offering these jobs are Cargill , DOW AgroSciences, Monsanto, DuPont, Tyson, Alltech, John Deere and many, many others! The website AgCareers currently has over 2,000 open agriculture related jobs posted on their website.

Also, because the agriculture program at most universities offers a variety of diverse opportunities, I also have a lot of real world experience to add to my resume. This includes teaching college-level courses, developing leadership workshops for high school students, administrative experience with a University-related non-profit, attending regional and national conferences and conventions, and many others.

I am a firm believer in the 1st Amendment right that journalists have to write things that other people (in this case, the Agriculture Industry) may not like; however, I also believe that all journalists should use this right only in accordance with the SPJ Code of Ethics. You have heard of those, right? I am highly convinced that your article, “College Majors That Are Useless,” is in direct conflict with the first of these ethics–Seek Truth and Report  It. The article states that Agriculture, Animal Science and Horticulture are three of the top five most useless college degrees. However, the sources that were cited are misconstrued and can be considered irrelevant to the claims that are listed in your article.

The first source listed was the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study (which can be purchased here for $49.95). You stated that this report represented over 1,000 employers, which may be true. The more relevant number, however, is that the report only surveyed 244 organizations. While I have not read the report, I would be willing to bet that NONE of these 244 organizations were from the agricultural industry. Obviously, Goldman Sachs will not be hiring Agriculture, Animal Science or Horticulture majors. Secondly, a large majority of students who graduate with agriculture-related degrees do one of three things: (1) start their own business, (2) work on their family farm or (3) get a job with a major agriculture company like the ones I listed above. Therefore,  the results of this report (However valid and reliable it may be!) are totally irrelevant to the field of agriculture.

The second source listed (available here)  is questionable at best because of its lack of substantiated evidence. The article provides no sources for its many statistics about pay scales and employment. This is not only bad journalism, but could also be considered plagiarism. Finally, this source which you used is in direct conflict with another of your articles for Yahoo! Education. In that article, you argued that Pyschology is the 2nd most effective degree for graduates; however, the Daily Beast article ranks this as the 18th most useless degree.  This would leave your readers quite confused about whether or not to bail on their Psychology major.

Please know that I wish you no personal ill will; however, I do feel that it is important that the standards and ethics of good journalism be upheld by those who are given the power to disseminate information, especially through such a large channel as Yahoo! Education. This is, sadly, where a large majority of our population gains their knowledge and it is important to ensure that the information we provide is accurate. In the case of the article you wrote, the information is simply inaccurate and misconstrued. Those of us in the Agricultural Community would greatly appreciate it if you would check your facts before writing such an article in the future.

Sincerely,

An Agriculture Major

Please feel free to comment below or email your own letter to Mr. Terence Loose at tloose7@gmail.com. As I am not a numerically minded person, I am leaving the statistical rebuttals up to more talented individuals. Finally, don’t forget to answer the poll and leave a comment if you have one!

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that it is difficult to locate the comment button. If you would like to leave a comment, or read comments that others have left on this post simply click here.

Let’s Be Friends with Benefits!

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Get your mind out of the gutter! Not the Justin and Mila kind of benefits! These benefits are much cooler!

I am working this semester for a super-cool company that sells shades and gives a pair of prescription eyeglasses for each pair of shades sold. Here are just a few reasons you should buy Waveborn shades for the girl or guy on your list:

  • Waveborn partners with Unite for Sight to provide glasses to those in need, even in developed countries.
  • For each pair of shades sold, Waveborn gives a pair of glasses to someone in need!
  • Waveborn has four awesome colors–Something to please everyone on you list!
  • Waveborn shades are cleverly stylish and socially responsible!

So, are you convinced yet? Did I mention that, starting today, Waveborn will give a pair of prescription eyeglasses to someone in need for every 10 “Likes” on their Facebook page or followers on their Twitter account. Ok, so you’re thinking about it but still not sure? Well, this is where the friends with benefits comes in! Because you are my cool friend (Aren’t you awesome!), I am going to share my personal Waveborn discount code with you so that you can try out your first pair of Waveborn shades with $10 off!

So, if you want to get your hands on a pair of these classy shades (They are great for guys too!), visit the Waveborn store and enter code “BLUEZEBRA” to get $10 off your first purchase! Hurry though, because a deal this good can’t last for long!


Devon’s Christmas Wish

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Every year since I was a little girl, I have pulled out the JCPenney and Sears Christmas Catalogs and made a Christmas wish list. When I was seven years old, I wished for new Barbie dolls, a bicycle and an Easy Bake Oven. I didn’t consider myself a selfish person, because I shared my toys, held the door for older people and helped my mom around the house. As I grew up, I still thought I was trying to do the best I could to help others. I donated what I could, volunteered when I had a chance and encouraged friends and family to help support my favorites non-profits. And, then I met Devon…sort of….

I first heard of Devon Haas last year, when she decided to donate her tooth fairy money to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. Ian recently recounted the event during an exclusive interview with Ecorazzi:

A year ago, there was a six-year-old girl named Devon Haas who contacted ISF because she wanted to send her tooth fairy money to us because she wanted to change the world. It blew our mind. She said that she wanted to change the world, but she knew that she didn’t have a voice. And the executive director of ISF called me and said, “We have to give this girl a voice.” I literally was almost misty-eyed thinking about it. This girl is now seven-years-old, she has 5000 or 6000 followers on Twitter and she is in this documentary called Kids of the Gulf, about the kids in the Gulf that were affected, and how they were affected and, by virtue of the fact that they have no voice, they kind of were never heard. Having a voice is pointless if it’s not heard.

Actually, Devon now has 6,434 followers who are devoted to helping her change the world! Whether she is fighting seal slaughter or creating awareness about the Gulf disaster, Devon expertly wields her little voice and heartfelt tweets to bring about change! I had signed a few petitions at Devon’s tweeted requests and had read some of her cute tweets to @IanSomerhalder about how she and the Kids Army were all over helping stop some atrocious disaster or another. I recently donated to help Devon with an awesome documentary movie project called Kids of The Gulf. In Kids of the Gulf, Devon and other young people like her hope to raise awareness about consequences of the Gulf Oil Spill and how it affected the lives of children involved.

Most recently, however, Devon has stolen my attention with her campaign to stop bullying and her precious Christmas Wish. This adorable little woman wants — not a new Nintendo DS or a new Go Go Pet like most little girls her age. Instead her Christmas Wish is to have 1 million people take an online pledge that they will not engage in bullying! The pledges are a part of the Stand Together campaign sponsored by ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition  and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in conjunction with a special episode of the Extreme Makeover show in which Sirdeaner Walker tells a personal story about how her son committed suicide after being bullied–he was only a few years older than Devon.

While Devon has a big heart anyway, this cause is personal . . .

Devon has taken on bullying as a needless evil that has to be stopped now, and this campaign gives her a good way to encourage other to show their support! The campaign is designed to allow for a large number of participants to know that they are a special part–each participant gets a unique participation number! Devon, with her creativeness, encouraged her followers to sign the pledge and tweet her their number. Devon signed the pledge and shared her number on Twitter–

While other factors were also helping increase the number, Devon’s followers have taken her suggestion seriously and signed the pledge. It seems that hundreds of people have signed the pledge and sent Devon their numbers. The total of pledges for the campaign now sits at:

90,085

With only 20 days left until Christmas, we need 909,915 more signatures to make Devon’s wish come true and help put a stop to needless, harmful bullying. Watch Devon’s video below to learn more about what she calls Bullycide, then click here or click the Devon’s Wish logo at the top of the page to go sign the pledge! Thanks for helping Devon’s wish come true!

 

 

There’s a new BOGO in town!

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So, everyone knows about TOMS and my obsession with their One-for-One giving model. (By the way, they even trademarked the One for One phrase!) I love their product, their passion and the people who are part of the TOMS movement.

But, its time for TOMS to welcome some new competitors into the arena!

Awesome websites such as ShopWithMeaning and GivingBrands are developing a database of cool brands that are also operating on the principle of giving something every time you make a purchase. This new idea of “Buy One, Give One” is taking over the retail world that used to only understand the language (and the concept) of “Buy One, Get One”. The idea of socially responsible consumerism seems to be guided by the wisdom of Winston Churchill:

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
The idea has spawned a wave of companies large and small that are taking on the BOGO principle and incorporating it into their business. As a social media intern for Waveborn, I have been looking into other BOGO products and companies. (Scoping out the competition is very important, of course!) I have found that the variety of products – and the variety of companies selling those products – is growing very rapidly. If there’s not a BOGO company for a product you feel would be helpful now, there probably will be by the end of the year! This movement is spreading like wildfire in the retail world as people learn to fit the idea of social responsibility into their daily habits . . . Consider it the recycling of retail.
This movement also seems to be an interesting twist on “for us by us”. These companies are primarly targeted toward Millennial Generation consumers, and oddly enough are most often led by people of this same generation. Social Responsibility creeps into the actions of Millennials in all sorts of places: what clothes they buy, what jobs they apply for, what causes they give to and even what political candidates they support.
So, next time you go to buy a product, look around and see if some of these crafty Millennials have started a BOGO company for it. If not, you could always start one yourself!
Have a happy, socially responsible week!
Beka
Today’s Question: If you were given $1 million to start a BOGO company, what would you sell and what would you give? (Please post your ideas below!)

Almost Wordless Wacky Wednesday . . .

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Herein lie my excuses for not blogging predictably over the last week or so and why I won’t be blogging for another week or so . . .

Hope to blog again soon!

Rebekah