Graphic courtesy of Victoria Do

Kelly Sullivan/The AS Review

The Western chapter of Circle K International, a collegiate volunteer service club dedicated to improving communities around the globe, was recognized for their outstanding efforts at this year’s Pacific Northwest Circle K International District Convention, which took place in Yakima from Feb. 18-20. The club won four different awards, including an outstanding club achievement award, which is given to the chapter that excels in membership retention, service hours logged and overall group progress.

Associated Students Club Coordinator Mikaela Trott said that Circle K has been incredibly involved on campus, and she constantly sees them in the Student Activities Center planning activities.

The club was also given an award for best scrapbook, which is maintained by their historian Marie Serica. The club’s secretary Victoria Do won an outstanding club secretary award and the Carthage-Pullman award for her dedication and enthusiasm to community service.

“[The Carthage-Pullman award] is the best award you can get,” said club Co-President Chris Woo. The award is given to the most energetic Circle K member who provides leadership and is involved in their community through volunteering.

Do said she had no idea she was going to win. “I’m happy of course but definitely really surprised,” she said.
While listening to a convention speaker detail the award recipient’s qualities before announcing who had won, Do said she did not think the speaker was actually talking about her.

“It feels good that people notice the little things, which are what I do to keep the club together,” Do said. She said that the awards indicate that Western’s Circle K chapter is working well as a group. It also encourages the younger members to continue and to make even better changes for next year.

The awards were chosen by a district board that represents Circle K chapters from over 25 schools throughout Canada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. During the convention, club members and officers took part in a series of workshops focused on improving leadership skills and community service projects.

Western’s Circle K chapter has between 25 and 30 active members, said Co-President Rachael Balbarona. Many of them  are very passionate about community service, she said.

Balbarona said the club is  a good way to promote volunteer work, and it provides students with information to get involved in community service.

“It’s an outlet for people to be exposed to the volunteer service,” she said.

Circle K International is the college-level version of  the Key Club International and the Builders Club organizations found in grade schools. All are under the umbrella of the Kiwanis International organization. Circle K  has more than 12,600 student members spread across 17 nations.

Western’s chapter does a variety of service activities around the community. Do was involved in Key Club in high school and said she knew she wanted to continue community service when she came to college. She said she enjoys much of the volunteer opportunities CKI provides.

“I like most of the projects that we’ve done,” Do said. In particular, Do said she enjoys Coffee And Sandwiches on Tuesdays, or C.A.S.T., which includes making sack lunches for  homeless people in Bellingham and handing them out in the parking lot at the Interfaith Community Health Center.

Woo also enjoys C.A.S.T, which CKI members volunteer for twice a month. Woo said he feels giving back is very important.

“I just feel very fortunate,” Woo said. “I just feel like I owe the community something.” The club tries to organize at least one service project every week, he said.