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May 12, 2009

“Microwave Guy” Stephen Robbins Raises Internship Funds

Law school boasts cleaner microwaves, refrigerators

It took being elbow-deep in gunk and grime, and inhaling the heavy aroma of multiple cleaning agents, but Stephen Robbins raised more than $1500 in less than two months toward his upcoming summer internship in Peru.

The first-year Oregon Law student is the creative mind behind the viral marketing project, Stephen Will Clean The Microwaves (for money). In mid-March of this year, Robbins decided to combine his need for travel funds with his disgust for the school’s student microwaves and refrigerators. He laid out monetary milestones — the more he raised, the more he would clean.

“Everyday I tell myself that someone really should clean the microwaves and fridges, I’ve grown more and more frustrated as the microwave becomes more and more encrusted with Lean Cuisine explosions,” Robbins lamented on his blog at the start of his project.

Law school friends and curious strangers alike seemed to respond. After launching his fundraising effort on March 17, Robbins raised enough to clean the first microwave (a $200 milestone) by March 24.

Although Robbins, who will be working with various human rights groups and the juvenile justice system in Peru, didn’t quite reach his $2000 goal, he is more than pleased with the result.

“I was 90 percent sure when I started this fundraiser that I would just get laughed at. Instead, I got laughed at AND raise a large sum of money,” he wrote.

The money Robbins raised is being used for travel, his internship deposit, mandatory immunizations, and miscellaneous costs that arise as part of his internship. He was able to secure a student loan to make up for the remainder of his expenses.

While in Peru, Robbins will work closely with young people who find themselves in trouble with the law in an effort to rehabilitate them and ensure they receive fair treatment from the judicial system. Much of the work is hands-on, educating youth and their families in an effort to instill a sense of social responsibility.

Robbins has set up a blog about his internship at juvenilerightsperu.blogspot.com.

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