When it comes to programming, KON’s Kappa Alpha chapter can teach us all a thing or two. Recently I spoke with Karen E. From MS, RD, LD, who is the Chapter Advisor of Kappa Alpha at Northwest Missouri State University, School of Health Science and Wellness about the programming detailed in their Chapter B report. In reading over their programming report to the national office, I was caught by the following line:
“30th year of nut sales completed offering three scholarships for members.”
30 years of nut sales? That’s a lot of nuts. I called Karen to ask her about it. She laughed, “nut sales have been going on since 1990 and were run by then adviser, Beth Goudge. Beth was the adviser for 23 years. She was remarkable. We have an annual fundraising event selling nuts that we source through a small local business about two hours outside of town. The chapter gets a percent of what we sell. This way we’re supporting local businesses and Missouri agriculture. It also lets us focus on health because our program is dietetics. We even sold during COVID. We had stipulations on who you could work with and how you could reach out, but we did it.”
The results speak for themselves. Their largest sale to date was 1,020 pounds of nuts under Beth’s reign. That wasn’t a one-time anomaly though, a couple of semesters ago they had over 900 pounds to distribute. Most years, they raise between $1,500 to $2,000, and of that amount, $900-$1,000 goes into three scholarships for active committee participants that are given out in the fall.
Kappa Alpha’s 2019-2020 Meetings
- September 2019: KON Scavenger Hunt
- October 2019: Pumpkin Painting Contest
- November 2019: Philanthropy event planning
- December 2019: Brunch & Yoga – Omelet station and restorative yoga with Kamryn
- January 2020: No meeting due to winter break
- February 2020: Philanthropy Event – (inspiration cards/basket)
- March 2020: Senior Etiquette Presentation and bullying initiative. (cancelled but planned)
The best part about Kappa Alpha’s programming is that it doesn’t stop there. They have a monthly activity at each of their chapter meetings. At the beginning of the year, each member signs up for a month’s meeting to create appropriate programming. Members usually sign up for more than one month, and often there are 3-4 members to work on each program idea. This way, all the chapter members take turns planning programming for their chapter. They have to select programs that meet one of KON’s ideals of research, leadership, or scholarship. The Vice-President is in charge of programming and makes sure things are on track. Karen reports that they try to use some of what the KON national office has on the website, but also delves into things the members like to make it interesting for them. For example, one of their students teaches yoga at the fitness center. To take advantage of that skill, they made a yoga event for the last month before the winter holidays. This provided an activity that would give back to the members.
One of their lessons learned is to go with the flow, and that not all projects work out. In November, Kappa Alpha was working with another association on their floor to hold a bake sale to raise money to fight food insecurity Backpack Buddies, a local program for food-insecure youth. Unfortunately, the school athletic director said selling cookies at the event would interfere with the Northwest Aramark food contract, and the program didn’t materialize. Despite the disappointment, Karen was positive about the experience. She noted that they had gotten quite far along in planning, “we had already built the marketing and event plan, and had made a quite a bit of progress. We learned a lot from the experience.”
With all of this programming, it’s easy to assume Kappa Alpha is a large chapter. But they have just 11 members, including six initiates.
Karen left us with words of wisdom. “Working with the students is fun. It has taken me until the last couple of years to learn to step back and let them lead and plan, by choosing the activities and working out the monthly programming. It is a great learning opportunity for them, and they enjoy the interaction.” What’s Karen’s favorite kind of nut? Almond. She notes though that the most popular option for the students is dark chocolate-covered coffee beans. The word is that they’re good for finals!
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