Hug It Forward builds schools with plastic bottles

Hug It Forward ASU, which launched last semester, is searching for more volunteers and funds to build “bottle schools” in impoverished parts of Guatemala.

The independent, nonprofit organization Hug It Forward sends workers to clean up communities in Guatemala.  Volunteers then use recyclable items, such as plastic bottles, to build schools for children.

Business management and global studies junior Markie Mullins became involved with the group three years ago because her dad knows the man who runs the organization.

Mullins started the ASU club to support Hug It Forward last semester.

“We are like a mini representation of them on ASU’s campus,” she said.

Mullins said she likes Hug It Forward’s mission because she wants others to have the chance to learn and enjoys being eco-friendly.

“I like the creativity of it,” she said. “They took something simple and figured out how to do it in a creative way.”

Marketing and special events management junior Kate Weintraub said she loves contributing to the education of others.

“Other than being proud of all of us putting so much hard work into helping others, this has been such a great experience providing insights to new culture,” she said. “It has taught me so much about the Guatemalan life styles.”

Weintraub said it is a great feeling to know the members of Hug It Forward ASU are leading other students to help childhood education.

“My favorite thing is promoting and hearing from all the people that are so eager to help us,” she said.

Tourism development and management junior Chelsea Halstead serves as Hug It Forward ASU’s vice president of events.

Halstead wants to be an event planner in charge of fundraising for a nonprofit organization one day, and she said she has learned a lot from the club.

“I’ve gotten a lot more experience on how to talk to people and how to ask them to volunteer or give donations,” she said.

Halstead said this is the first semester the club has really gotten on its feet as far as planning events.

This year, the club held a car wash that raised about $50 and helped host a benefit concert that raised a few hundred dollars. Halstead said she is planning a percentage night at Applebee’s.

There are about eight members of Hug It Forward ASU, and the club hopes more people will join in its efforts now that its events are running.

“Our main goal is to have people that are steady,” Halstead said.



Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @hannah_lawr.

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