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Student group celebrates through community service

by Rod Jones

CKI students make birdfeeders for the community with the student group members deciding where to put their creations.

The Circle K International chapter at OCU has added energy to the university’s tradition of service-learning. With community service projects coming every other week during the fall and spring semesters, chapter members have no trouble reaching their service-learning credits.

“We like a nice, consistent schedule with our projects,” said Morgan Roby, chapter president and biology major. “It helps us stay productive.”

Those projects can run the gamut from making Valentines cards to building hygiene kits for those experiencing homelessness. Food preparation is a recurring project, although the menus and organizations served this way will vary from session to session.

The chapter also organizes fundraisers throughout the year for different causes, including for the purchase of materials they use in their projects.

“We try to help as many different charities as we can,” Roby added.

Circle K International bills itself as “the world’s largest student-led collegiate service organization,” with more than 7,600 members in 17 countries coming together to make a positive impact in the world.

CKI is the collegiate branch of the Kiwanis International family. Besides the volunteer endeavors, the organization also seeks to instill leadership qualities amongst its members while emphasizing team building skills.

“CKI members leave college with real-life networking and advocating skills AND service leadership,” its website states.

OCU’s chapter made immediate impacts right from its outset. It was restarted about a year ago and was named Outstanding New Chapter at the international conference and Chapter of the Year during the CKI Texas-Oklahoma district conference last July. The honor is based on factors including engagement, fundraising efforts and overall student involvement. OCU’s chapter has nearly 30 members.

One of Roby’s duties as chapter president is seeking out organizations to assist. The group usually identifies a recipient and then comes up with some kind of project about a week prior. They get together every other Wednesday evening, appoint members to specific tasks, then get to work on the project at hand.

Most group projects are done on campus so that all students can participate regardless of access to transportation.

In February, the group prepared a baked potato bar for clients of Sisu Youth Services, an overnight shelter and drop-in resource hub for unhoused and at-risk youth in Oklahoma City. Sisu is located a few blocks away from the OCU campus.

Group members were cheerful and humorous as they gathered in the chapel’s Watson Lounge, divvied up duties and set about their tasks. Their good spirits indicated they not only participate in service to others, but also enjoy each other’s company while doing the work.

The members aren’t after recognition — they have a genuine interest in helping others. They relish the fellowship with their classmates who are interested in benevolence.

“I like to be involved in things that benefit the community,” said club treasurer Emma Sloan.

OCU’s Circle K International likes to keep things interesting with a large variety of community service projects and donation drives. Here’s a few of their past endeavors:

  • Cat and dog toys for the animal shelter
  • Hygiene bags for housing insecure
  • Craft bags for a children’s hospital
  • Food donation boxes for a food bank
  • Winter scarves for housing insecure
  • Valentines for campus
  • Meal service for SISU
  • Pumpkin donations to a children’s hospital
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