Bostinno - The rivalry between Caltech and MIT has been brewing ever since April 2005, when Caltech students pulled off a series of pranks during MIT’s “Campus Preview Weekend,” geared toward incoming freshmen and their parents. One MIT student, Jin Pan, says he would joke that if he ever came into money, he would donate tons of Caltech jackets to the unfortunate, “because it’ll show the true value of a Caltech degree.” Although meant in jest, his sarcasm turned serious when he was looking to procrastinate on homework.
He launched HoboJacket with his friend Cathie Yun, describing the online platform as “the politically incorrect but right thing to do.” Through the site, users can donate their rival college’s jackets and shirts to the underserved and poverty stricken, “because it’s terribly unfortunate that people actually went to that other college.” In an email to BostInno, Pan calls HoboJacket a social experiment, claiming he wanted “to see if it’s possible to leverage even one percent of the intensity surrounding college rivalries to create something more meaningful than four touchdowns.” Latching on to the competitive edge coupled with heated rivalries, HoboJacket is gamifying charity by showing off a leaderboard so students can see where clothing is being donated.
Pan has received mixed reactions. Some have described the move as one made in “poor taste,” while others have said the idea represents a “level of elitism and immaturity.” Because of this, Pan admits he has thought twice about his “prank,” although conjured up with good intentions.
Having a hard time understanding how a “website that donates coats and clothing to the homeless” is getting bashed from all angles. Everyone and I mean everyone saying it’s some elitist prank that degrades and denigrates the homeless. Saying how immature and irresponsible it is and needs to be shut down immediately. Bunch of educated dicks sitting in their $1800 a month heated apartments lobbing vocab words on their Mac computers about how disappointed they are. Umm go ask the homeless guy sleeping on the street in a pile of snow when it’s 13 degrees out how degrading that warm CalTech jacket is. Take it away from him and tell him it’s to protect his dignity and see what happens. Watch yourself get stabbed right in the fucking eyeball. And now he’s thinking about cancelling the site because of the bad press? Unbelievable. The homeless are probably like “bro! You can make fun of me with your preppy rich white friends all you want! I’m fucking homeless! Just give me a goddamn jacket!” Sure some of it’s original intentions can be seen as a little offensive. Know what’s even worse than being a little offended? Dying from hypothermia and exposure.