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College of Information and Communications


July 2016

From the Dean . . .

COCKY’S READING EXPRESS: IT TAKES A CROWD

I tagged along one Saturday morning last month as Cocky and his friends—our student volunteers and SLIS staff — strolled down Main Street in Columbia.  Soda City Market draws a cross section of people in our community who are looking for food, fellowship and fun.  Cocky’s Reading Express™ fits right in, handing out high fives, hugs and the nourishment of children’s books.

We had just launched our summer crowdfunding campaign for Cocky’s Reading Express, and our Columbia friends and neighbors chipped in $355.60 that morning.  Crowdfunding works that way.  It aggregates dimes and dollars from dozens of donors, pardon the alliteration, until a collective value is reached to support a cause or project.  Cocky’s Reading Express is our now 10-year-old project; children’s literacy is our cause.

USC’s Office of Development asked us to kick off a new series of crowdfunding campaigns for university programs.  With the high visibility of Cocky’s Reading Express and our continual needs, we were happy to do so.  CRE has always been substantially funded by gifts and grants.

You’d think it would be easy to do so, but it’s not.  Crowdfunding is a bit like selling door to door.  One college summer I sold encyclopedias, ringing doorbells in small Pennsylvania towns.  That’s another story and, in my experience, a short one.  I also drove an ice cream truck.  Much better received.

Crowdfunding has been around for some time.  Think of symphony subscriptions, Girl Scout cookies and even war bonds.  But like many things, it’s increased exponentially in the digital age.  Billions are raised annually for causes and crises.  Many times it’s for victims of natural, man-made or medical tragedies. 

We don’t offer tragic faces, but the hopeful ones of bright and engaged young minds and the unflappable (did I say that) Cocky, mascot extraordinaire.  (Beak flap.)

I’ve written before here about “summer slide.”  It’s the real loss of capability among young students who do not keep up their reading skills outside of school.  They return to school in the fall months behind those students who read through the summer.  What book’s in your backpack?

This summer, we are seeking $25,000 through the USC crowdfunding campaign.  We’ll buy new books and literacy kits, fuel the CRE bus and be able to visit areas of the state we have not been able to serve before.  Since June 30, we’ve received $14,028 and have 9 days remaining to reach and exceed our goal. 

You can find out more here »

Join the crowd. 

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Charles Bierbauer


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