Story by Mikayla Marshall, Staff writer
Students in professor Roger Weis’ class raised money for the Angel Fund in January, which provided holiday gifts for about 1,000 children in the Murray-Calloway County area.
About 80 students in three classes raised the money with an activity known as “Silly Willy,” Weis said.
Every Tuesday students wrote down an activity they would do to entertain the class. They could buy themselves out of it for a dollar or they could do it and the class would donate 50 cents into an envelope that was passed around. Weis said they have raised $7,500.
The Angel Fund buys toys and clothes for kids in the community that can’t afford them.
The next organization they plan to raise funds for is “Wave,” the local chapter of Living Water for the World. Wave installs water purification systems around the world.
“We prepare students to be leaders in the nonprofit world, which includes organizations like the Red Cross and YMCA,” Weis said.
Classes include leadership training, marketing, financial development, volunteer management and issues impacting international philanthropy. The nonprofit sector is currently the fastest growing sector in the country, Weis said.
“Humility made me choose nonprofit,” Nolan Wells, senior from Liversmore, Kentucky, said. “It was growing up learning that it is better to give rather than receive that made me want to give back.”
Wells said that going on a mission trip to inner city Cleveland, he was exposed to the despair and hurt that the youth live in there. He plans to work with neglected and abused youth in cities to give them hope and value in their lives. Wells wants to work with organizations that specialize in care for those with intellectual disabilities.
“Not only is nonprofit a great major/minor, but I feel like they are great electives to take for any major,” Julia Curtis, junior from Murray, said.
“I think all students should learn about how they can volunteer in the community and how to be a leader,” she said.
Curtis plans to get her master’ degree and be a missionary in Arizona on Native American reservations. She said many people do not realize the level of extreme poverty people on reservations live in.
Kara Van Horn, sophomore from Marion, Illinois, took Weis’ class as an elective and enjoyed the service-learning portion of 15 hours of volunteer work.
“I became a Conversation Partner and helped a student from South Korea become acquainted with America,” Van Horn said.
The program has grown significantly over the years, starting in 1983 with seven students to 900 students now. It is one of the biggest programs in the country, Weis said.