August 28, 2012
Amanda Schnieders, Kauffman Foundation
Volunteers Go Door-to-Door for Tri-Blenheim Fiberhood
It wasn’t the perfect day to be walking around outside. It was raining, spits of water slopping against my tennis shoes. But with only 16 days left in Kansas City rally for Google Fiber, we couldn’t really afford to be choosy. Armed with our clipboards, pens and Google t-shirts, we stepped onto the pavement of The Paseo. In front of us lay two hours and 50-needed registrations to turn Tri-Blenheim green.
As the registration window for Google Fiber narrows, more and more community efforts are taking to the streets to connect with their neighbors about the importance of Google Fiber in their fiberhoods. Many efforts are finding success in using public service buildings as one of their rallying points. (If Google Fiber comes to the fiberhood, many schools, libraries and city official buildings will get free fiber connections.) With the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation building its new charter school on the corner of 63rd Street and The Paseo, education was our main rallying point as well.
“We’d like to give the schools in this area the opportunity to experience Google Fiber and everything it has to offer for their education. With technology constantly growing, the capabilities in the classroom are becoming even more abundant and necessary,” Nate Olson, my door-to-door campaign partner said. Standing on the stone front steps of our fifth house of the day, we had become more comfortable with the speech we had agreed upon. We knew why we were doing this, why we had to do this, and it was just a matter of conveying this sentiment to those we talked with. Most were very receptive. Some were hesitant. Others were disengaged and said, “It didn’t apply to them, because they weren’t on the Internet.”
Some people, the people who aren’t on computers, don’t have emails and don’t spend much of their day in front of a TV, still didn’t understand what Google Fiber really was or what it offered. Seeing this digital divide first hand was eye opening. We saw that even with all the marketing and promotion of this opportunity in Kansas City, sometimes people just need someone to explain it to them directly. They need a neighbor to sit down and talk about the opportunities Google Fiber offers beyond the confines of a Nexus 7 tablet. They need a neighborhood association or community group to display the benefits of Google Fiber for the community in a town hall meeting or a presentation. They need more than a commercial or a billboard.
As we trudged through the on and offs of rain, slowly we gathered one registration, then another and then another. By the end of our canvasing, we had garnered 11 people who wished to be pre-registered for Google Fiber. Combined with the four other groups of Kauffman Foundation volunteers, along with three Google staffers who joined us, our rally pulled in over 55 people who would like to pre-register. Tri-Blenheim is now officially green!
One afternoon. One Saturday. 55 registrations. And that was just one fiberhood.