Student leaders ‘K-State Proud’ of philanthropic campaign

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For Maddy McClelland, K-State Proud was once this “cool” organization that she promoted on a T-shirt her older sister gave her as a Christmas present her senior year of high school. She was drawn to the philanthropic campaign and its motto of “Students Helping Students.”

McClelland, junior in apparel marketing, was a 2016-17 K-State Proud co-chair, along with Davis Millard, senior in sociology, and Matt Zemanick, senior in accounting and finance.

K-State Proud will soon announce the students who will take over the positions as co-chairs for next year. The student-led campaign, which is guided by the K-State Student Foundation, raises money for K-State students who are struggling financially to go to college. The current co-chairs expressed this as a reason they applied for the position.

“I decided to apply to be a K-State Proud co-chair after spending a year helping with the campaign as part of Student Foundation and seeing the direct impact that K-State Proud has on current students,” Zemanick said. “Through both the generosity of the K-State student body in making donations, and the gratitude of individuals who receive these donations through Student Opportunity Awards, there’s no better example of the K-State Family. I decided this is how I wanted to spend my senior year.”

Throughout the year, K-State Proud hosts various events to raise money including sporting events, T-shirt sales, and Cattywampus — a fundraising concert with a different featured artist each year. Jon Bellion will be this year’s performer on April 27.

As co-chairs, McClelland, Millard and Zemanick helped coordinate volunteers for the events and served as overall leaders and directors for the campaign. This year, K-State Proud has raised over $85,000 for students, which could not have been possible without the help of the other student volunteers, Zemanick said.

“I don’t view anything the campaign has accomplished this year as an individual accomplishment,” Millard said. “Sure there’s money that we raised to help keep students at K-State, but I think the true accomplishment is continuing to educate students and faculty about our campaign and inspire them to give back in other ways than donations. Our volunteers and Student Foundation are the backbone of the campaign and without them we could not have made this year as successful as it was.”

Even though these current co-chairs will be stepping down from their positions at the end of the year, they look forward to seeing what the future holds for K-State Proud.

“I have so many dreams for it, but my ultimate goal is that at some point everyone that walks through campus is somehow connected to the campaign,” McClelland said. “Whether that be through donations, through volunteering, through hearing about it in some way, shape or form, or being the recipient of one of those Student Opportunity Awards, or nominating someone, I want them to know that this campaign encompasses them as a student body and that’s why it’s there.”

McClelland, Millard and Zemanick had camaraderie in each other, which helped them navigate through what they found to be a sometimes challenging job. Overall, when each co-chair looks back on their past year in this position, they said there is one way to describe how they feel: “K-State Proud.”

“I’m K-State Proud because of Maddy (McClelland) and Matt (Zemanick),” Millard said. “I can’t think of two other individuals that I would have wanted to serve with in this role. Every day they brought enthusiasm and passion to the position and it inspired me to keep moving forward and do what I could to help.”

McClelland, Millard and Zemanick are finishing out their year with a newfound sense of what it means to be a K-State student, all tying back to the “family” many find here.

“I’m K-State Proud because I see a community around me striving to be better every day,” McClelland said. “And I see a group of people picking each other up when they’re down, and it’s the ultimate display of the K-State ‘family.’”

Interviews for the next co-chairs took place Sunday. The new leaders for the 2017-18 school year will be announced by April 10.

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