Membean Marathon Raises $1000 for Hawaii Literacy

Surrounded by friends who helped him in his 24-hour Membean fundraiser, junior Jalen Sur proudly holds up the $1000 donation from Membean to Hawaii Literacy.

Membean, according to many HBA students, is an extraneous, arduous, monotonous, mundane, onerous, online learning program that is supposed to fortify their English language vocabulary.

While most students drag their feet through their one hour per week Membean requirement, this past winter break, junior Jalen Sur decided to go beyond the requirement and completed 24 consecutive hours on Membean to raise money for Hawaii Literacy, a local charity dedicated to promoting literacy in Hawaii. Membean learned about Sur’s marathon event and donated $1000 to his cause.

This is the second year that Sur has done a Membean marathon, which he calls the “Bean Stream.” The idea first came up as a joke between Sur and his friends their sophomore year, over cross country stretches. After a few Instagram direct messages and texts, the first Bean Stream was live on Twitch, a live online streaming service. “My friends were an instrumental part of the Bean Stream’s success,” said Sur. “They helped organize and keep the stream going for 24 hours. They also brought tons of food. My mom was also a huge part in this project.”

Rather than tackling the 24 hours on his own as he did last year, this time Sur had his HBA friends take turns to go on Membean at the same time as he did. Alongside Sur, 12 other HBA students each completed at least one hour of Membean during the 24-hour period. “Compared to the 2015 Bean Stream, this one was way more fun. Everyone was able to contribute to the cause,” stated Sur. “As far as how I felt physically, it was exhausting. When all you’re running on is sugar and adrenaline, it’s hard to stay awake the whole time.”

The event caught Membean’s attention after a tweet about the event was posted by senior Skyler Kimura. Membean tweeted back stating that they would donate $1000 to Hawaii Literacy and everyone involved would receive Membean T-shirts. With good food and board games at hand, Sur and his friends went through a total of 839 new words and answered 4469 questions.

HBA’s English teachers were thrilled that Sur was doing the challenge again. “I know students often complain about doing Membean,” said English department co-chair Faye Takushi, “but they have so much to gain from doing this program diligently. Words are the vehicles of comprehension and thought. The more words students know, the more they can understand both their world and themselves.”

With the fundraiser in hindsight, Sur said, “It may sound weird, but doing Membean for 24 hours with your friends is insanely fun. I was sad it had to come to an end.”

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