Jayhawks give back during inaugural KU Cares Month of Service

Posted on Dec 20, 2017 in Alumni News and News

KU Cares Month of Service
After 19 different events in 16 different cities, the first KU Cares Month of Service brought Jayhawks closer to the communities they call home.

The KU Alumni Association set out to have participants in the Month of Service share the spirit of Thanksgiving by giving back, both in their networks and in the KU community.

A portion of all membership dues collected during the month of November was earmarked for the Wounded Warrior scholarship fund. Thanks to the generosity of those who joined, renewed, or donated, more than $5,500 will be given to the scholarship fund that helps qualified veterans and their family pursue their education at KU.

Continuing on the theme of an earlier post, we wanted to highlight some of the events where Jayhawks made a difference.

Wichita: Ronald McDonald House

Members of the Wichita Jayhawk Network came together to help those staying in the Ronald McDonald house. Volunteers brought, prepared and served dinner to the families with children in nearby hospitals.

Milwaukee: Fill the Freezer

Local KU alumni joined forces with the United Way to fight hunger at the first annual “Fill the Freezer” event. Network leader Jay Craig, b’85 g’87, brought area Jayhawk volunteers together with local chefs to prepare frozen meals for those in transitional housing and family support programs.

Phoenix: St. Vincent De Paul’s Watkins Kitchen

More than 15 Jayhawks gave their Saturday morning to prepare meals for the homeless at St. Vincent De Paul’s Watkins Kitchen. Phoenix Network Leader Chris Colyer, b’04 l’09, thanked everyone for representing KU and showing compassion for their community.

San Antonio: Haven for Hope

Area alumni put on their Jayhawk gear, along with aprons and gloves, and served food to those in need in downtown San Antonio. Network leader Morgan Bertram, d’02, thanked those who helped feed 383 at Haven for Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless find a new beginning.

While the KU Cares Month of Service is over, Jayhawks can get together to give time and talents to their communities anytime! Visit the KU Cares page for more information, and reach out to your local network leaders. View our Flickr album of these events and more from the KU Cares Month of Service:


-Ryan Camenzind

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From Feeding America to Friends of Trees: The KU Cares Month of Service begins

Posted on Nov 21, 2017 in Alumni News and News

As the KU Cares Month of Service continues, the pictures and stories from the events are rolling in. We’re sharing a few from the first events to show how Jayhawks are making a difference in their communities. Visit the KU Cares Month of Service homepage to learn how you can participate in giving back to those in need.

Portland: Friends of Trees

The Portland Jayhawks joined forces with other volunteers on a misty Saturday afternoon to plant more than 200 trees in southeast Portland. Network volunteer Meg Viezbicke, c’97, organized the event and praised Friends of Trees for helping ensure the Jayhawks could be involved. Friends of Trees, a local nonprofit, aims to to inspire community stewardship of the area’s urban forest by planting and caring for trees in both neighborhoods and green spaces.

Seattle: Food Lifeline

Network volunteer Deanna Marks, b’16 e’16, brought together 10 Seattle Jayhawks who donned aprons and hairnets over their KU gear and packed 1,420 meals for their community at Food Lifeline, a nonprofit that provides meals to residents of Western Washington. Food Lifeline is a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of over 200 food banks.

Tampa Bay: Feeding America

The Tampa Bay ’Hawks also partnered with Feeding America by collecting over 100 pounds of food. Network leader Chris Longino, b’06, thanked those who brought donations to their watch site for football and basketball watch parties. “I am always impressed with the generosity and goodwill of the Jayhawk Nation,” Longino said. “Hopefully, we can plan many future opportunities for our KU group to give back to our adopted Tampa Bay community.”

San Diego: Sunset Cliffs beach cleanup

San Diego Jayhawks spent a Saturday morning by the ocean, but instead of lounging in the sun they opted to beautify the beach. Network volunteer Stephanie Shehi, b’86, partnered with the San Diego Coastkeeper organization, which helps keep Sunset Cliffs Park clean and beautiful for the community. The network picked up 20 pounds of trash, enjoyed stunning views, and heard lots of “Rock Chalks” from bystanders.

The easiest way to participate in the KU Cares Month of Service is to join or renew your Alumni Association membership. During the month of November, a portion of all dues will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund. Join, renew, or upgrade your membership to participate in this initiative!

-Ryan Camenzind

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Wichita Jayhawks build camaraderie while building home

Posted on Sep 25, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Wichita Network Habitat for Humanity | photo courtesy Danielle Hoover
Wichita Jayhawks spent time yesterday not only building relationships with each other, but building a house for Habitat for Humanity.

“It was a fun, productive day with a great KU team,” said Margaret Lafferty, a member of the Presidents Club, adding “I had a good work out with that hammer!”

Jayhawks who volunteered their time and talents include Wichita Network board members Chris Howell, Byron Watkins, Anna Ritchie, and Jim Spencer; Danielle Hoover, assistant director of Wichita programs for the KU Alumni Association; and Mike Parmley of the KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

See more pictures from the build on Flickr

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Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters celebrate centennial

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Alpha Kappa Alpha, KU’s first historically black sorority, held its centennial celebration earlier this month. The Delta Chapter was originally chartered Feb. 15, 1915.  Audrey Lee,  j’76, g’78, reflected on the festivities, which included events for current and alumnae members of the sorority as well as for the general public.

Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters celebrate centennial | photo courtesy of Audrey Lee | www.kualumni.org

“We came to KU. Saw a Sorority. It was the AKAs. And they looked good to me.”

Those words, sung by the sorority sisters who pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha in the 1970s, brought back memories and a lot of bonding during our sorority’s reunion Feb. 13-15 in Lawrence. Not everybody knew each other when we arrived on campus for the Centennial Celebration, but it was like Six Degrees of Alpha Kappa Alpha. We were all connected through one another. It was great.

I stepped out of my car and immediately called out someone’s name who pledged four years after me. As I walked in the door, a young sorority sister asked if I knew her mother. Of course, her mother had pledged with me. It was a time of renewing friendships and making new friends. While posting on Facebook, I got a message from a sister in Kentucky who let me know that one of the women in my picture was one of her best friends. That was amazing.

Katherine Idelburg, who pledged in 1949, was the most golden of the sisters there. It was impressive to see the women in pledged in the 1950s who came back and all still have a strong bond with one another. They told us the stories of living in the sorority house. When I pledged in 1974, we no longer had a house. Each generation had their stories to tell, and each generation had their own strolls and chants to perform.

During the weekend, we reviewed the history with the representatives from University Archives. We raised funds for the Willow Domestic Violence Center and dedicated a bench on campus. We were greeted at a gala by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. Our featured speaker was the AKA Mid-Western Regional Director Jan M. Carpenter-Baker.

It was exciting. I had a friend drive me around campus and stop so I could take pictures of Strong Hall and the Campanile. The campus has grown so much and is so beautiful—just as beautiful as my ladies of the pink and green.

—Audrey Lee
Alpha Kappa Alpha sisters celebrate centennial | Photo courtesy of Audrey Lee | www.kualumni.org
Pictured above: Members of the Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Golden Sorors and Madam Regional Director making service donations to Willow Domestic Violence Center.

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Jayhawks run to remember in Oklahoma City

Posted on May 21, 2014 in Alumni News and News

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was scheduled to begin at 6:30 am. Severe thunderstorms raged through the heart of Oklahoma City. Most runners left the start line and corrals to take shelter in parking garages downtown. After multiple delays, runners and walkers remerged and gun fire signaled the start at 8:20 am. It ended up being a warm, sunny day in the heartland.

The Oklahoma City Chapter of the KU Alumni Association participated in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon April 27, 2014. Two relay teams, each with five KU alumni and friends, donned the crimson and blue and completed the 26.2 mile feat. Jeff Smith, Judy Dinkel, Bevan Graybill, Manuel Calvin, and Lynn Gold Smith were on Team 1. Max Weis, Janet Shockley, Robert Rielly, Liz Johnson, and Kyle Cohlmia were on Team 2. Our teams reunited with the team members running the last leg two blocks from the finish so we could cross the finish line together.

On April 19, 1995, at 9:02 am a bomb went off outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The domestic terrorist attack killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. I was in third grade in Muskogee, Oklahoma, when it happened. As I think back, I’m not sure how I comprehended such a tragedy at that age, but I did. Images in newspapers and magazines of people alive but pinned under the rubble and of a firefighter carrying an infant corpse never leave you.

The mission of the Memorial Marathon is to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor the memories of those who were killed and unite the world in hope. More than 25,000 runners and walkers from every state and several foreign countries compete in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon each year. Proceeds from the Marathon benefit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

This was my third year to participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Every year I am overwhelmed with emotion. From the 168 seconds of silence before the race begins to the enormous number of volunteers to being passed by someone wearing a race bib in memory of a loved one killed in the bombing, it is a Run to Remember.

—Bevan Graybill, c’08, Oklahoma City Chapter leader

Oklahoma City Chapter OKC Marathon Team 1

Team 1 (left to right): Manuel Calvin, Jeff Smith, Lynn Gold Smith, Bevan Graybill, Judy Dinkel

Oklahoma City Chapter OKC Marathon Team 2
Team 2 (left to right): Janet Shockley, Robert Rielly, Liz Johnson, Max Weis, Kyle Cohlmia

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SALB leaders volunteer at Jubilee Café

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 in Alumni News and News

Last Friday morning, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, members of the Student Alumni Leadership Board arrived at Jubilee Café to make breakfast for members of the Lawrence community. SALB members spent all morning making pancakes, hash browns, biscuits, eggs, and oatmeal. By 7:30 a.m.,  the doors to Jubilee Café were open and SALB members were busy serving food.

“I really enjoy coming to Jubilee Café because I like interacting with the people that I am helping,” said Autrin Naderi, a sophomore from Roseville, Calif., majoring in strategic communications.

Lawrence welcomes KU students with open arms, so SALB members wanted to have an event that gave back to the community that is so supportive of students.

“I had a lot of fun volunteering, and I think community outreach is something all students should do more of,” said Austin Lear, a junior from Springfield, Mo., majoring in accounting.

By 8:30 a.m., the dishes were washed, the tables were put away and the kitchen was officially closed. Before most students’ days had even begun, SALB members were busy serving breakfast to the Lawrence community.

Jubilee Café provides breakfast for in-need community members in a restaurant-style environment. The program runs from 6-8:30 a.m. Tuesday and Friday mornings at the First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont. Volunteers have the unique opportunity to build friendships with members of the diverse Lawrence community by serving them with dignity and respect.

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Awareness for Wellness donation drive begins today

Posted on Sep 25, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Homecoming is a great time for alumni and students to participate in fun activities at the University and reunite with classmates, but did you know there’s also a community service element?

This year’s Homecoming Steering Committee has partnered with the United Way to sponsor Awareness for Wellness, a community donation drive that benefits the Lawrence Community Shelter. The shelter is the only emergency homeless shelter serving Lawrence and Douglas County.

The Lawrence community is invited to donate hygiene products such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and baby diapers to the drive. Items will be collected at each of the four Dillons store locations in Lawrence beginning today through Sunday, Sept. 29. Donations can also be dropped off at the Adams Alumni Center on Sunday, Sept. 29, from noon-4 p.m.

Students, if you’re participating in Homecoming events to earn points for your organization, your donations should be delivered to the Adams Alumni Center; points will not be given for donations dropped off at Dillons.

We hope you’ll join us to help assist residents of the Lawrence Community Shelter!

Items requested include:Jayhawks Around the World, 2013 KU Homecoming | www.kualumni.org

Baby Essentials
Diapers (sizes 3, 4, 5, 6)
Baby Wipes

Men’s Hygiene Essentials
Disposable razors
Shaving cream
Deodorant/body spray

Women’s Hygiene Essentials
Disposable razors
SocksHomecoming 2013 hashtags

Hand and body lotion
Facial tissues
Fingernail clippers
Travel-size toiletries
Shampoo and body wash
Combs and brushes
Dental floss

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The Big Event is coming to KU

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Big-Event-button-logo-2013What’s The Big Event? Glad you asked.

This student-led effort involves one big day of community service connecting the KU campus with the Lawrence community. Thousands of student, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers will contribute a day of service on hundreds of local projects on April 13. Community service has been a tradition among KU alumni and students for generations, however this year’s edition of The Big Event may very well be one of the largest coordinated volunteer efforts in KU history.

2013 will mark the third annual event for KU, following two successful editions in 2011 and 2012. And The Big Event just keeps getting bigger. Alumni can learn more and get involved at thebigeventku.com. Meantime, watch this video to see how these volunteers are making a difference in the community.

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