This blog has supported the Hartford office of Habitat for Humanity in the past. So when a colleague of mine brought to my attention a neat social media/public awareness/fund raising project that Nissan and Habitat for Humanity have introduced, I checked it out.
It appears Nissan, a long time supporter and major partner of Habitat for Humanity has develop and deployed a new Facebook app that is meant to spread awareness of green building, have a little fun in this virtual world and help Habitat raise some money.
The game invites participants to let go a little bit in a virtual Habitat build: type in a command, and the volunteers will do as you say. The slapstick starts when you command an otherwise mild-mannered volunteer to smash windows, or, in one case, throw things (items are returned, mysteriously, by a giant penguin). The brand put together a simulation video showing what happens when you type in a silly command: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8Qf2oAHOlM
This is all a lot of fun, but the purpose is serious: to support the building of green homes for families that desperately need decent housing. Participants in the Facebook app are directed to Habitat for Humanity, where they can donate, volunteer for a (much more sensible) build, or take action in their communities. (To view the full app, click here: http://www.facebook.com/Nissan?sk=app_361541373889965). In addition, the top 100 scorers get a personalized video from Nissan at the build site featuring volunteers pounding a nail into the structure in the name of each winner, as well as a Nissan t-shirt. In this way, anyone can virtually participate with Nissan employees in building sustainable homes for low-income families.
Nissan has partnered with Habitat for Humanity since 2006, taking part in the rebuilding of the Gulf states after Hurricane Katrina. Nissan employees are very passionate about the cause, as are many Nissan owners, who’ve volunteered more than 56,000 hours for Habitat. Nissan-sponsored Habitat homes are equipped with many “green living” features, including low-flowing plumbing fixtures, programmable thermostats, energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, high-performance windows and ENERGY STAR® appliances.
So far, Nissan has donated $7.5 million in grant money and donations to the organization, built 50 homes, donated 104 Nissan vehicles to help building efforts, and over 5,000 Nissan employees have volunteered. Now, though, the company is taking the Habitat program to a whole new green and social level with this game. It’s using the power of social media to stem the tide of indifference and get a new generation involved in green, affordable building.