About a month ago, my son Raphi (age 4.5) earned a prize from his nursery school teacher for behaving very nicely in school and not fighting with any other kids. The prize? A water gun. I have no idea if the irony is lost on the teacher, but we found this hilarious.
Today, I saw that the OU did pretty much the same thing. It is organizing a Campus Learn-a-Thon. One of the prizes is a Nintendo Wii console. I'd venture that computer games are the greatest single cause of bittul Torah around today.
On the other hand, I mentioned the other day that my father provided me with an incentive to learn how to layn the Megillah. The incentive was a TV. I don't really watch much TV anymore, but I still layn the Megillah.
I still think that campuses should adopt an idea that I hatched when I was the JLIC educator at UMD, but never got the chance to implement. The idea was to have a Fleisch-a-thon to raise hunger awareness. The contest would be that one must remain in a fleischige state (according to the full-6-hour opinions) for the longest time possible. That means no dairy products for the duration of the contest, and that you must set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night and munch on some meat. Sponsorships would be per 6-hour increments. The vegetarians would go nuts with this, but I bet it would be wildly popular.
Students who want me to sponsor them should email me (adderabbi at gmail dot com). Readers who wish to sponsor students - same email.