Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University students delivered 20 bins of school supplies to Eisenhower Middle School Tuesday, Dec. 6. Notes from 80 Washburn students to the Eisenhower students accompanied the supplies. The goal of this donation is to help provide a brighter school year for students and teachers.
The planning and work for this gift began in Spring 2016 when students Becca Shelton and Abraham Pfannenstiel proposed adding a service event to Washburn’s annual Welcome Week. Welcome Week is a series of events designed to welcome returning students back to campus and help new students connect.
“Washburn’s motto is ‘not for ourselves alone,’” said Pfannenstiel. “We have many opportunities to get involved throughout the year but we just didn’t have a giving back component to Welcome Week.”
Pfannenstiel and Shelton identified this opportunity as their project for the Leadership Development Theory class through the Washburn Leadership Institute and the Washburn Transformational Experience. They met with leaders from Community Action, Inc. to identify a need in the Topeka community that Washburn students could relate to and could help meet. They found that teachers often have to buy supplies for their classrooms as back-to-school piles begin to dwindle around December.
Partnering with the Washburn Student Government Association and Washburn director of new student orientation Mckinlaye Harkavy, Pfannenstiel and Shelton organized a group of 80 students during Welcome Week. The group purchased supplies, packed them into bins and wrote the notes to Eisenhower Middle School students.
“We wanted to partner with a middle school because often those students are starting to decide just how important education is to them,” said Harkavy. “We wanted them to know that there are college students cheering them on, encouraging them to set and achieve goals.”
With the success of the first service event hosted during Welcome Week 2016, students are planning a similar event for 2017.
The Washburn Leadership Institute’s mission is to further develop students into ethical and intentional leaders who value diversity and are prepared to immediately exercise effective leadership in today's changing society by cultivating the study of leadership and facilitating transformational learning experiences designed to challenge, motivate, and inspire.
The Washburn Transformational Experience provides an opportunity for students to enhance their learning through direct interaction with faculty while engaging in experiences outside the classroom in one of four arenas: leadership, community service, international experience, or scholarly and/or creative endeavors. It is expected that the student's experience will yield a greater understanding of the world around them and how one might utilize his or her unique skills and abilities to affect positive change.
Photo I: (l to r) Washburn University students Sarah Edelman (senior), Abraham Pfannenstiel (sophomore), Becca Shelton (junior), Armaud Battle (freshman), and Glynnis Debenham (senior) with supplies
Photo II: (l to r) Washburn University students Sarah Edelman (senior), Glynnis Debenham (senior), Eisenhower school counselor Kelly Vosilus, Washburn student Becca Shelton (junior), Eisenhower principal Leosha Giardina, Washburn student Abraham Pfannenstiel (sophomore), Eisenhower teacher, Washburn student Armaud Battle (freshman), and Eisenhower teacher