KSU United Way Campaign kicks off with breakfast, inspiration

Desiree Bartoe

Debra is not sure she would be alive today without the help of Safer Futures and United Way.

A victim of domestic violence, Debra — whose last name was omitted by the United Way for safety reasons — spoke at Kent State’s United Way Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast yesterday.

Along with Janet Verthe, director of Safer Futures, the two discussed the importance of United Way and its impact on Safer Futures — a program that helps victims of domestic violence.

As a welcome for the Kent State United Way steering committee, which is composed of United Way officials and Kent State faculty, the breakfast was the start of the organization’s annual campaign.

“People here are the heroes of the campaign,” said Kathy Baker, United Way director of marketing and communications. “The breakfast is to thank them in advance and give them information they can relay to others.”

The breakfast was held in Room 310B of the Student Center. Coordinators and members of the steering committee celebrated the start of the new campaign and dined on quiche, fresh fruit, muffins, orange juice and coffee.

“It is a little information, inspiration and instruction,” said Pete Goldsmith, committee chairman and vice president of enrollment management and student affairs. “Kent State University is very active in this campaign and committed to the community and beyond.”

The main focus of the committee this year is to obtain student volunteers.

“Money is not nearly as important as volunteering,” Goldsmith said. “If you have something you are passionate about, United Way can find a place for you.”

One of the committee’s goals is to help students understand the number of different agencies United Way supports.

“A number of Kent State students volunteer for our agencies and don’t realize we all work together,” Baker said. “Students know the needs and are meeting them; however, there is a disconnect, and they don’t realize we are behind those agencies.”

The Kent State United Way Campaign represents more than 10 percent of Portage County United Way’s total financial goal.

Students interested in learning more about the United Way can call Baker at (330) 297-1424, ext. 113.

Contact social services reporter Desiree Bartoe at [email protected].

Students can participate this semester in any of the United Way’s events:

• Change to Make a Change — More than 50 containers have been distributed to different Kent State departments across campus. Students and faculty can put donations in the containers, which will be collected Oct. 27 by committee members in Halloween costumes.

• 50/50 raffle — Committee members are selling $5 raffle tickets until Nov. 17 in White Hall, Room 408. The winner, who must be at least 18 years old, will win half of the money collected. The other half will go to the organization.

• Women’s and Men’s Exhibition Basketball Games — Committee members and volunteers will collect money at the Oct. 29 women’s basketball game and the Nov. 4 men’s basketball game (tentative date) in the M.A.C. Center as students enter and exit the game.

• “Books are Fun” Book Fair — From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 16, on the second floor of the Student Center.

• Mystery Dinner “The Death of Dr. Pepper” — From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 16, in the Kent Market II on the second floor of the Student Center.