Ditch the cappuccino and grab an Americano instead, because Charity Week 2015 is all about America! This year’s Charity Week theme, “United We Can”, was revealed Tuesday, Aug. 25. Invoking red, white, blue and all things American, the goal of this Charity Week (Sept. 28 through Oct. 3) is to support our country’s veterans. The money raised this year will go to two local organizations — Honor Courage Commitment (HCC) and the Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas (HVSD) — both of which aim to give back to the men and women who served in our nation’s military.
According to their website, the mission of HCC is “to train and position military veterans into becoming successful entrepreneurs, business and community leaders.” The organization holds that the values of honor, courage and commitment, gained through military service, give all veterans the potential for success in the business world. HCC therefore helps veterans find commercial success through mentoring and continued education, channeling the same style of goal-oriented training that once prepared them for their various specialties within the military.
HVSD serves homeless veterans and their families in the Dallas area and manages the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) of Dallas, which provides many services to veterans and their families, including assistance with job searches, healthcare and veteran benefits. The HVSD website states that their goal “is to help alleviate the problem of homelessness among our veterans and their families by assisting with transitional and permanent housing.” Since Sept. 2011, their resource center has served more than 22,000 veterans.
The junior class elected Rachel Parkey and Katie Spellmeyer to serve as this year’s Charity Week co-chairs. Last year’s Charity Week’s record- breaking success of $24,635.52 set a high standard for the current junior class, but Parkey and Spellmeyer are set to meet that goal and even surpass it. Their passion and work ethic have earned the respect of both the administration and previous Charity Week leaders. Senior Jake Loel, a co-chair of last year’s Charity Week, commended Parkey and Spellmeyer’s talent and work.
“Rachel and Katie … have brains,” Loel commented. “They know the business side of Charity Week.”
Unique to this year’s Charity Week is the direct correlation between its theme and chosen charity. This was a conscious decision made by the co-chairs, whose summer search for charitable organizations kept bringing them back to the idea of serving veterans. “Incorporating these great charities with an “America” themed week seemed like a great idea that would really get everyone on board,” Spellmeyer said.
There is no doubt that Charity Week is meant to be fun, and all its beloved events are set to return. However, in the midst of it all — the constant paranoia from K.A.O.S., Airband rehearsals, the decision to shave your head, etc. — it is possible to forget the big picture of Charity Week and the mission of the supported charities. This year, the co-chairs aim to keep the charitable organizations at the forefronts of students’ minds throughout the week.
“We wanted to choose a theme that would place more emphasis on the charities that we are supporting, in order to make the student body more aware of the purpose of Charity Week as a whole,” Parkey said.
The vice president of enrollment and student affairs at the University of Dallas, Dr. John Plotts, agreed that greater emphasis should be placed on the charities themselves.
“I don’t judge the success of a charity year necessarily by the amount of money raised, but the attitude and spirit with which everybody participates,” he said.
Parkey and Spellmeyer are working to have both HCC and HVSD representatives on campus throughout the week, so that UD students can meet them and learn more about the organizations’ missions.
The theme of patriotism and national pride will attempt to tap into the pre-existing zeal for tradition found here at UD. Whether it be chicken-fried steak on Wednesdays, a beloved subterranean rodent or an impassioned professor’s speech orated from the top of the Charity Week jail, UD students love rallying points, and our country and her military veterans are noble ones indeed.
Despite their hours of hard work throughout the summer and this semester, Parkey and Spellmeyer are quick to stress the importance of other students’ roles and the participation necessary for a successful Charity Week. “The success of the week is directly related to the participation of the student body,” Parkey said.
Again, Dr. Plotts had a similar view of makes Charity Week happen. “That’s what makes a successful charity week, is everybody’s attitude in it,” he said.
Each year, Charity Week exemplifies how the quirky, fun-loving spirit of the bubble can make a real, positive impact on the surrounding community. In addition to raising a large donation for charitable organizations, this Charity Week aims to incline UD students to serve the community in various ways throughout the entire year.