Community service clubs at Stony Brook University vary from organizations whose members spend their spring break volunteering in various parts of the country, to those who spend the school year fundraising for a camp for children whose parents have cancer. With all the driving factors that divide humans today, it’s comforting that community service organizations can bring strangers together to volunteer for causes bigger than any one individual.
Community service clubs at Stony Brook University extend their efforts to students by often hosting small events. For instance, earlier this month on November 9, Stony Brook University’s Circle K International chapter hosted Service Day. At this event, attendees, which varied other campus community service clubs and regular students, created projects that were later donated to the local community.
Stony Brook’s CKI chapter, which is completely student-run and led, was founded in 2008 and is part of Circle K International, a “premier collegiate and university community service, leadership development, and friendship organization in the world.” The international organization has over 13,500 members throughout 17 nations. College or university chapters are sponsored by the Kiwanis club, a larger international community service club as well. Some other CKI service projects include the Six Cents initiative, a CKI international fundraiser that “aims to provide water to the 2.2 billion children worldwide who lack safe drinking water.” During the semester the Stony Brook chapter throws fundraisers, mainly in the form of bake sales.
Other popular community service clubs on campus include Students Helping Honduras. SHH is an international non-governmental organization based both in the United States and Honduras. The organization fundraises money throughout each academic semester, which is used to help build schools in Honduras. “Our mission is to alleviate poverty and violence through education,” Ian Lesnick, president of SHH said.
“The organization itself has a goal of building a thousand schools, that’s not something that happens overnight, obviously but it’s a long-term goal. We are a chapter of the organization so we’re one of the many chapters across the country and there are also other groups from other countries as well, which is pretty awesome to all come together. Throughout the semester we fundraise, so our goal this year is 20,000 [and] it cost 25,000 to build a school, so that is 80 percent of a school built because of the fundraising. We wanna get as many people down to Honduras as possible so they can see what we do [and] why we do it,” Lesnick said.
In honor of #GivingTuesday, which was on November 28, SHH promoted their One Cup of Coffee donor program, which asks that individuals donate four dollars a month to support its service efforts in Honduras. SHH wasn’t the only club showing out for #GivingTuesday. Camp Kesem another well-known community service club on campus, baked cookies and cupcakes and headed over to the Student Activities Center to raise money for its annual summer camp for children.
Camp Kesem, a national organization driven by college students, aims to “support children through and beyond their parent’s cancer.” In order to achieve this, club members throughout the country help raise money, which goes towards sending kids to camp for one week free of cost. Camp Kesem, which was founded at Stanford University in 2000, now has over 100 chapters in 40 states across the country.
Stony Brook University has over 50 community services clubs on campus. One fairly new club is A Moment of Magic. MOM falls under A Moment of Magic Foundation, a national organization whose mission is to “spread some magic, and a little bit of pink.”
“A Moment of Magic at Stony Brook just started, this is our very first semester so we’re learning a lot of things about ourselves and I think that’s really gonna help make us like a very strong club and set us apart cause even though we are a non-profit, we’re different from Project Sunshine and Camp Kesem,” Katie Nealon, MOM e-board member said. MOM is currently a Magic Maker chapter, which means their primary goal is to help fundraise money for the SBU chapter, the national foundation, and other character chapters. The SBU chapter is hoping to become a character chapter so that members have the opportunity to dress up as animated characters and visit hospitals to spend time with children battling cancer.
“I think the most important reason is that so that everybody can have a strong sense of community,” Nealon responded to why community service is important. “Like if we’re all helping each other out and getting involved in community service I feel like we’ll just have a much more positive feeling and everybody would be more willing to participate in community service.”
Other community service clubs on a campus include Project Sunshine, Alternative Spring Break Outreach (ASBO), American Red Cross Club, Community Service Club and Oxfam Club.