On Sunday evening, Salman Safir ’16 posted an idea on Facebook that has already started attracting attention on campus. His idea is simple and charitable. Safir wants to devise a system to collect students’ spare change and donate it to a worthy cause or charitable organization. He plans to do this by leaving empty jars in dorm lounges in which students can drop their spare change.
Talking about the origin of the idea, Safir said, “A lot of times with myself and family, we end up leaving our change in nooks and crannies around the house or losing it because it’s tough to carry around. So my mom started keeping a jar for spare change to give to a charity.”
Since he posted his idea on Facebook, approximately thirty Swarthmore students have responded through comments, personal messages and emails to express their interest in helping out, and some have also suggested charities to which the proceeds could be donated. Safir said, “Yousef Al Hessi, an international student from Palestine, suggested a charity that helps people in Gaza. Another Swattie, Mary Kuchenbrod, gave the name of a charity called Simply Smiles. Hopefully this thing will be successful enough to reach out to all the causes that are important to people involved in this.”
Safir plans to host a meeting to discuss the execution of this project on Thursday. Frank Wu ’16 is an enthusiastic supporter of the idea and plans to attend the meeting.
“It’s easy to participate in, especially for busy students who want to help out but may not have the opportunity or time to. I mean, it’s simple to do because no one ever wants pennies,” he said.
Speaking about his plans for executing the idea, Safir explained, “I plan to approach Liz Braun to discuss the idea with her. We need support and advice because it’s important to deal with people’s money safely and responsibly.”
Safir expects to encounter a few challenges along the way. According to him, “The biggest concern is going to be logistics. We’re trying to make it a campus-wide thing. It’s easy for things to fall apart when dealing with so many locations.”
Wu anticipates a different set of problems, “There is a possibility that people may not think that jars of change will make a big difference, or someone might find it funny to steal the jar as a prank.” Responding to the idea of people taking the jars or change from the jars, Safir said, “I trust Swarthmore students to not steal it. If someone does steal a jar of change, they probably need it and that’s a form of charity in itself.” This raised the question of how much he expects to collect through this system of jars. He explained, “There’s really no telling. It just depends on how well we run the program. It would be great to make at least a thousand dollars over the course of a semester.”
As of today, Safir has already collected empty jars from Sharples and is looking forward to discussing ideas with other students attending the meeting on Thursday.