Cobbers engaged in Circle K are getting an opportunity to act out Concordia’s mission through community service, and members get to volunteer in a variety of areas.
Circle K International is a community service organization, said Lankin Tyll, Concordia Circle K vice president. Circle K is the collegiate version of Kiwanis International. Kiwanis’ official webpage states that the organization was founded in 1915 in Detroit, Mich.
Furthermore, Circle K International is the largest university service leadership organization in the world. Students volunteer half a million hours each year, according to Kiwanis’ webpage. Circle K has more than 13,700 members across 19 countries. According to Concordia Circle K member Michaela Koenig, service is at the heart of every club.
According to Tyll, there are currently 17 active, dues-paying members in Circle K at Concordia. Paying dues provides the opportunity to benefit from scholarships and other benefits from Kiwanis. According to Tyll, the group has many projects throughout the year.
“We try to do different projects and try to get around to different organizations in the community,” Tyll said.
Some examples of where Cobbers have volunteered through Circle K is Churches United for the Homeless, the Dorothy Day Food Pantry, and the Salvation Army. However, it is not just humans who benefit from Circle K’s engagement.
“We really try to find anything that fits what the members in the club would be interested in doing,” Tyll said. “We have some people who will go to dog shelters or work with cats.”
According to Tyll, they usually have projects every week. The group meets every week to talk about upcoming volunteer opportunities, and will sometimes combine that time with projects, such as making Christmas cards to give to Eventide.
“Usually the meetings are only around 15 minutes, unless we’re doing a service project, then they might be a little longer,” Tyll said.
Tyll encourages curious students to come to one of their meetings, which take place Thursdays at 9 p.m.. They have an open Facebook group called “Concordia Circle K,” with pictures and more information. All volunteer opportunities are posted in the Facebook group, Tyll said.
“Our club is welcome to anyone who would like to make a positive impact on the community,” Koenig said. “Even if you are not an official member you are welcome to participate in our service events.”
Becoming engaged in Circle K does not have to be a big time commitment in the sense that there is no required amount of service hours. If students want to participate in one project a year, that’s fine, Tyll said.
“We hope people will volunteer more than that, but it’s really whatever fits their schedule,” Tyll said. “And if you can’t make it to a meeting it’s not that big of a deal.” Monica Shukle, treasurer of Concordia Circle K, said her favorite thing about the club is the flexibility.
“I am able to pick and choose events that work with my schedule,” Shukle said. “This flexibility also allows me to work at a variety of events, so I get exposure to multiple organizations.”
According to Tyll, Circle K is a fun way to get involved in community service and volunteering.
“If you find something you like, you can reach out to [organizations and charities] on your own and keep going back,” Tyll said.
Becoming involved with community service can also a nice way to meet other students.
“I like how diverse our club is with students of all sorts of majors and different graduating classes.” Koenig said.
Koenig also said that it is important to give back to others who may not be able to give back in return.