Homecoming fundraisers give back to community

Truman State University’s 76th Homecoming Celebration raised $15,420.63 and a car load of supplies for local charities this year. 

Last Homecoming, Truman tried to make it an all-inclusive campus event by not limiting activities to only sororities and fraternities. This year, Truman’s celebration emphasized bringing the Truman community together.

The four categories of involvement in fundraising at the event were celebration, spike, white and purple. 

The winner in the purple category for larger organizations was the orange team, which consisted of Cardinal Key, Delta Zeta and Tau Kappa Epsilon. Sigma Alpha won the white brackett for smaller organizations.

Lauren Kreutz, who participated on the orange team and Zach Plunkett, who was a member of the blue team were Homecoming royalty.

The 2019 Homecoming philanthropies were the Kirksville Child Development Center and AM Housing. Homecoming Director Courtey Atwell said previous philanthropies were one local and one national, but the Homecoming team decided this year that it wanted to focus on local philanthropies.

Truman gave all donations to KCDC, while supplies from the hygiene product drive were dropped off at 215 North High Street where AM Housing offers transitional housing to those in need. 

“Since we are trying to be inclusive to the whole community, we are trying to get everybody involved, even people who are not students,” Atwell said. 

Atwell said they’re looking for faculty, staff and Kirksville residents to get involved. 

The KCDC’s roots are definitely with Truman, KCDC Director Katy Korte said. 

KCDC was started by a group of parents and Korte who was teaching at Truman’s Child Development Center when it closed down in May 2006. KCDC mainly gets involved with the Kirksville community through Truman, Korte said.

Korte also said KCDC works with Truman’s nursing students and education practicum, and they collaborate with different organizations to raise awareness of the needs of young children in the community.

KCDC’s website says it’s educational philosophy is that kids learn and grow best through open-ended, child-directed play. This foundation encourages each child’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth.

Madeline Nash, KCDC Board of Directors member, said it’s important to recognize that the office setting that’s been created in schools isn’t productive in teaching kids how to use their bodies and space, as well as helping them learn how to use their eyes to track things.  

KCDC received $15,420.63 from this year’s Homecoming philanthropy efforts. Currently their No. 1 priority is to get a zipline for the children, Nash said.

“That [zipline] moves us toward those goals of helping them track their body and space and helping them track the world around them and be able to foster resilience,” Nash said. 

They will also be spending the money on equipment to go with science, technology, engineering and mathematics light tables, Korte said.

“Being able to play with things like light and really understand light and the world and like experiment with those kinds of things that sort of you know create a three year old version of a hypothesis and test that hypothesis so that when you’re actually in your chem lab,” Nash said.

This was KCDC’s first time being a philanthropy for Truman’s Homecoming. Nash said she thinks Homecoming has had a pretty big impact on the KCDC community since it got the news from the Homecoming committee that they were one of the philanthropies. 

“It feels like this year there’s maybe a bigger sense of community among the families and the parents and that there’s maybe a stronger sense of connection with each other,” Nash said. 

Nash said she thinks having strong evident support from the Truman community strengthened the Homecoming theme of “better together” and helped KCDC get on board to celebrate and be excited about what it does.  

Homecoming also donated to AM Housing, whose long term goal is to have a homeless shelter for anybody to use said fundraising chair for AM Housing Jimmy Clemens.

Community members and students dropped off items at its location on North High Street during Homecoming week, in addition to students dropping off a car load of supplies for Homecoming, Clemens said.

Some of AM Housing’s tenants sorted through the supplies and found clothes to wear, Clemens said.

“So some of the supplies have already helped our tenants which is awesome,” Clemens said. “Then the other of those supplies were sold during our garage sale … and so we got hundreds of dollars from that garage sale and I think about $400.”

The $400 that was collected from the garage sale will be used to fix up the current property AM Housing has, such as window repairs, bedding and furniture. 

Atwell said the involvement category system for Homecoming makes it easier to get the word out and makes the process more accessible for those who might not be in an organization. 

Atwell said that she’s excited to see where Homecoming goes next year.