The origins of #DonateNominate

With the new craze of Neknominations escalating into a global drinking phenomenon, a few of us in Nightingale recognised the potential to put a positive spin on this media hype. As members of Karnival, a non-profit charitable organisation, we represent the charitable endeavours of our student-body in halls, on campus, in Nottingham and in other cities when we go and collect for various charities. We therefore didn’t think it right to encourage the extreme drinking that Neknomiantions herald where we could instead use it as opportunity to realise our aims and objectives as Reps.

Nightingale Hall Karnival Reps 2014. From left to right: Lucy Flynn, Richard Griffiths, Abby Larvin, Olly Weston, Holly Louise, Alistar Phillip Green
Nightingale Hall Karnival Reps 2014.
From left to right: Lucy Flynn, Richard Griffiths, Abby Larvin, Olly Weston, Holly Louise and Alistar Phillip Green

In light of this and having all members of the Nightingale 2014 Karnival team being nominated to ‘neck’ drinks ourselves, we lacked enthusiasm to partake.  As such a small hall on campus it was hard to escape the craze. Whether we were walking into the lift or even trying to have a shower, people would be in there, downing concoctions… And unsurprisingly it got very annoying, very quickly!

However, after discovering Brent Lindeque’s video (stopping at busy traffic lights in Johannesburg to give lunch to a homeless man); we shared the same idea of flipping the intentions of these nominations on their head, and we were inspired. So, we headed into the city of Nottingham to create Karnival’s take on it.

Brent Lindeque giving food to someone on the street in South Africa.
Brent Lindeque giving food to someone on the street in South Africa.

We approached two policemen in the city centre to ask if they knew of any places that homeless people frequented, as we had heard many stories of fraud and wanted to make sure that we were donating to a legitimate homeless person. They told us that the homeless are often the victims of attack by the drunken public so they often move to the outskirts of the city, which made the job a little harder. They pointed us in the direction of a man who sleeps near the Victoria Centre. We felt that it was important to provide him with a nutritious meal – fruit, although healthy would seem less exiting than cookies and sandwiches to someone malnourished. As a one off thing we wanted to get novelty food (and obviously stomach-filling food!).

Nightingale Hall rep, Alistair Green giving the food over to the big issue seller
Nightingale Hall rep, Alistair Green giving the food over to the big issue seller

With an assortment of Sainsbury’s finest sandwiches, a chicken baguette, a can of coke, a large bottle of water and a pack of cookies, we successfully accomplished our mission – he seemed overwhelmed, only capable of muttering the words “thank you sister, thank you brother” over and over. Although only a small act of kindness, it was heart-warming. Our intention was that each hall would try and better the efforts of the previous one and we were on our way, passing the torch to Cavendish Hall.

We were very keen to get our video out onto social media, so we came together to edit it and before long, with the support of our Karnival Exec, it had been posted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Forty minutes unexpectedly witnessed over 3000 views; Brent Lindeque, the pioneer of the idea, saw our video on twitter and we were ecstatic when we found out. We couldn’t have asked for a better response!

#DonateNominate cemented for us the reason why we are Karnival reps, and successfully showed the rest of Nightingale Hall. Being a part of Karnival has offered us the opportunity to break away from the stereotypical student image and reinvent ourselves as those willing to get involved with charity work while at University. Undisputedly, Neknominate may have been entertaining for a short while, but it did no good for anyone. If you are going to get involved with a craze, get involved with #DonateNominate. It betters the lives of others, and it’s so much more satisfying!

by Nightingale Karnival 2014

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