Alumna Casey Hostetler doesn’t recall the exact moment the idea hit her. She just woke up one day last summer with a thought: What are practical things people can do to help make their hometowns a better place?
It was a simple concept, but profound in its potential. What would happen if – like the massively successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 – this thing went viral? What kind of impact would it have in Yamhill County … Portland … Oregon … the nation?
Hostetler couldn’t wait to share her idea, dubbed the “Better My Town Challenge.” She started with coworkers at her place of employment, Hagan Hamilton Insurance in McMinnville, Ore., thinking it might make for a nice marketing campaign. She told friends, who suggested it might work but weren’t sure, before ultimately consulting with Nathan Knottingham, president and CEO of the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Nathan and I talked for quite a while before finally saying, ‘Why not, let’s do this,’” says Hostetler, who earned both a degree in business management (2013) and an MBA (2014) from George Fox. “We obviously didn’t know what to expect because you just don’t know how people will respond. But I was encouraged by what I saw with the Ice Bucket Challenge. This was the same idea, just that you would be doing practical things rather than dumping a bucket of cold water on your head.”
The idea: Post a video on social media in which you state your name, who nominated you and what task you are performing to better your town. It could be anything from disinfecting doorknobs around town to donating food or clothing to a local charity. Conclude the message by nominating three people and encouraging them to keep the chain going by nominating three individuals each.