IC Circle K International started the semester walking in the right direction.
At the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk Sept. 19, the Ithaca College club stepped out at its first major event of the year. The group completed the walk in high spirits and raised $645 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, making IC Circle K the seventh highest donating team for the Out of the Darkness Walk.
IC Circle K has existed at the college for over a decade, with the international organization being founded in 1951. Recently, the club has been particularly active providing students with the opportunity to serve the community. The club offers a combination of long-term and short-term projects planned throughout the academic year to help students engage with new people and build a strong sense of connection with the Ithaca community.
Junior Olivia Sod, president of IC Circle K, said the group is a chapter of an international community-service organization. However, Sod said the college club tries to go beyond the basic mission of Circle K.
“The technical Circle K tenets are leadership, service and fellowship,” Sod said. “But my main goal for us is to get people to put a little good in the world.”
This semester’s executive board stresses the importance of building lasting relationships within the organization, in addition to making strong community ties.
After the Out of the Darkness Walk, all of the participating members went to The State Diner to reflect on the experience. Junior Jessica Wolfe, the internal relations chair for the club, said it is important to have reflection and “hang-out” time after their volunteer events because it helps build friendships within the club.
“We have been emphasizing bonding and getting to know each other more this year,” Wolfe said. “We want it to be more of a club that it’s like we are all friends so that it’s not like it’s a club you just show up to for a half an hour every week and go home.”
According to the executive board, in addition to participating in the suicide prevention walk, the club does weekly service projects that benefit the Ithaca community. So far this year, the members have made dog toys for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, placemats for Meals on Wheels and sandwiches for the Rescue Mission.
“We work with kids, we work with the elderly, we work with the homeless and even with the dogs,” Wolfe said. “We’re trying to, I think, branch out into every single area because it’s just really awesome to have such a diverse amount of people to work with and help out.”
The organization tries to have long-term service projects as well, like hosting a weekly bingo night at Longview, an independent living facility for the retired, Sod said.
Junior Andrea Wollin, vice president of IC Circle K, said interacting with the community is a high priority this year for the club.
“For us, it’s all about the Ithaca community, so we don’t do a lot with huge organizations outside of the community because then you don’t see the effects as much,” Wollin said. “We live in Ithaca and we use their facilities all the time, so I think that it’s important that we give back to the community that gives us so much as college students.”
The executive board is planning more community events for this semester. The group will be collecting old shoes for impoverished families and will be having a Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser to raise funds for their weekly service projects Oct. 10.
IC Circle K hopes to expand its reach on campus this semester as well, as Sod said the club is a judgment-free zone and a good way for students to relieve stress.
“We want more people to participate in everything that we do,” Sod said. “We have a lot of great opportunities, and we just want people to take them.”
IC Circle K meets for a half–hour at 8 p.m. every Wednesday in Williams Hall, Room 222.