SUNY Potsdam's Circle K Club: Making efforts that last


Erica Sharpe, Alison Chiasson, Eric Hotchkiss, Karen Ham, Alicia Lewis, Caylynn Lott, Jeremy Bouteiller, Doug Campbell, Lauren Kiskiel, Kerry Smith and Lindsay Smith.

The Circle K Club at SUNY Potsdam was busy volunteering during the College’s “Make a Difference Week” right along side many other SUNY Potsdam students and organizations, but for Circle K, volunteering and making a difference is more than a week-long event. The members have committed to actively make a lasting impact in the community.

Circle K is a community-service organization focused on leadership, fellowship and service. The projects in which they participate help others on a local, national and international level.

Recently the club has taken part in raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through the “Light the Night Walk” event, which drew in the support of individuals, corporations and foundations to fund LLS’s research initiatives for cure. Circle K Club Editor and Captain for Light the Night Walk Jennifer Purpura and her team of 40 SUNY Potsdam students participated in the event and raised more than $750.

This is not the first time the Circle K Club has organized a fundraising activity for medical research. Their recent “Relay for Life” campaign for breast cancer research has been a huge success on campus.

The club also carried out other volunteering activities for this project such as selling balloon pin-ups for $1 at the Barrington Student Union. Coordination with the LLS allowed the club to open an online account where people could donate through the site. Individuals from the club were given donation packets to keep track of what they raised, as the event provided some exciting prizes for raising above certain amounts of money.

For Halloween, the club helped their parent organization, Kiwanis, with the “Ragamuffin Parade,” where members walked downtown with children and entertained them with doughnuts, cider and a fire truck ride.

“While the club participates in two to eight service projects a month, members also conduct social events like this parade,” said Karen Ham, the club’s faculty sponsor. “People who are in this club are genuinely interested in giving back to the community, and they get a lot of leadership skills from it too, which is applicable in any job market today.”

Previous to this, the Circle K Club raised funds for several other causes, such as Coats for Kids, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, Operation Christmas Child, Habitat for Humanity, Highway Clean-Ups and others.

“The best part of being a member of the Circle K Club is the wide variety of service projects that it has going on constantly and the flexibility that is given in choosing which activities best suit you,” said Purpura.

Ham noted there are usually at least 40 students in attendance at their weekly meetings.
Circle K International is a co-educational service, leadership development, community service and friendship organization, organized and sponsored by Kiwanis Club on college and university campuses.