Several months leading up to the holiday season, the spirit of giving at Clarkson College flowed gleefully through the campus air. Calls for donations and helping hands appeared left and right, each one supporting a different cause or population. Combined, the goodwill of alumni, students, faculty and staff was significant.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 31, 69 Clarkson College students, employees and family members (and a few pups) completed a 3.1-mile trek along the Field Club Trail in midtown Omaha. The participants, many of whom were dressed in their Halloween best, were all voluntarily walking and running in the third annual PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) 5K event.
The PTA 5K walk/run aims to achieve three main objectives: To celebrate October as National Physical Therapy Month; 2) to promote physical activity and wellness among students and the community; and 3) to obtain food donations for the Open Door Mission. This year, participants donated 224 pounds-worth of food, beating last year’s record by more than 50 pounds.
The PTA 5K came into fruition in fall 2013 as part of an assignment for the PTA 215 Therapeutic Exercise II course, which students complete in their second academic year. “In the course, I teach physiology of exercise, and I wanted the students to see the application of those physiological principles first-hand,” says Dr. Michelle Reilly, Assistant Professor and PTA 5K faculty coordinator.
Once all PTA 5K participants crossed the finish line, the event coordinators held a raffle drawing that included Chipotle and Starbucks gift cards, chocolate treats and a “Biggest Loser” gift pack.
Clarkson College held its fifth annual Choose to Give campaign in November. The fundraising effort invites College employees to donate to the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship fund. After three weeks of campaigning, faculty and staff members raised a total of $10,528. Seventy-four (nearly three-fourths of full-time employees) contributed to the fundraiser, which is more than any other year. Last year’s donations funded three undergraduate scholarships. The 2016 Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship recipients will be selected in early spring.
Carrying on an annual tradition, the Student Government Association (SGA) set up a Giving Tree in the lower level of the Student Center and invited employees and students to select an ornament and purchase a gift for one of the young boys and girls at Children’s Square USA, a life education center that provides services to children and families in the community.
“We honor this tradition because it is one of the ways SGA can get the entire Clarkson College campus to work together to make sure children have a gift to open up on Christmas,” said SGA President, Kalen Knight. Within a matter of weeks, the giving community at Clarkson College cleared the Giving Tree of its ornaments. On Dec. 3, SGA members delivered gifts for 73 children and infants at Children’s Square.
Since 2008, Clarkson College Radiologic Technology students have raised funds to provide a family in the community with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, presents and more. The students are paired up with a family through the Omaha-based Calling the Hope Revolution into Service (CHRS) organization. This year, the Radiologic Technology Student Association (RTSA) and the Lambda Nu Honor Society members adopted a family of eight—a great grandmother caring for her six great grandchildren and one granddaughter.
Together, the RTSA and Lambda Nu students donated and delivered Thanksgiving meals to the family on Tuesday, Nov. 24. On Dec. 17, the RT students organized an entire day of shopping for and wrapping gifts the family had requested. That same evening, they personally delivered the gifts to the family and even surprised the children with a visit from Santa Claus. The students took photos of the children with Santa and mailed the family print copies a few days later.
The Clarkson College chapter of Omicron Epsilon Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing partnered with the Social Work department at Nebraska Medicine to make a difference this year. Together, the groups adopted a family in the community. The honor society contributed $125 that went toward gifts for the family.