Kirksville Buddy Pack Walk Inspires Unique Challenge

This year, the School of Health Science and Education (SHSE), is working to fight hunger and food insecurity, and students, faculty and staff have already raised nearly $4,000 to help one northeast Missouri organization.

When Janet Gooch, dean of the SHSE, encouraged the collaboration of a themed activity between the different SHSE departments, they adopted the topic of hunger and food insecurity for the 2015-16 school year. The Buddy Pack Walk seemed to be the perfect event to kick off that collaboration. The walked raised funds for the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri to support the creation of “buddy packs,” meals sent home weekly in backpacks with local school children on weekends and holidays.

Pete Kelly, professor of education and chair of the department, decided to add an element of competition and issued a challenge four days before the event to the other SHSE departments to see which one could raise the most money.  

When the nursing faculty noticed their department not raising as much as they had hoped, they decided to come up with some unique rewards if the nursing students raised more than the faculty. Stephen Hadwiger, professor of nursing, told the students if they raised more than the faculty, the students would have the opportunity to pour ice on him. Teak Nelson jumped on board for the ice dousing as well. To increase motivation, Melissa Holcomb offered to sing a song in public from the musical "Wicked."

The nursing students met the challenge, and on Aug. 31 students and faculty gathered outside the Health and Exercise Science Building to watch Hadwiger and Nelson cool off while having five-gallon buckets of ice poured on them. The time and place for the musical selection has yet to be decided.

“I am impressed with not only the funds raised, but the effort our students and faculty have given to this one event,” Gooch said. “Our departments know how to motivate one another and I am excited to see future activities and challenges centered around the cause.”

In the end, the Education Department won the challenge by raising around $3,000, followed by the Nursing Department with $400 and the Health and Exercise Science Department at $375.

During the walk, Truman was also well represented with many volunteer groups helping with setup, cleanup and additional walk details.

The cost is 50 cents a day, or the equivalent to $180 a year, to provide a Buddy Pack for one child. The SHSE will be supporting 21 children this year alone. To learn more about the cause, visit the food bank’s website.

Truman’s faculty, staff and students consistently demonstrate a commitment to serving their community and the overall greater good. Those efforts were part of the reason Truman recently earned the No. 1 ranking for public schools on Washington Monthly’s Masters University list. Key components of that ranking include both civic engagement and contributing to society.

Stephen Hadwiger, left, and Teak Nelson, right, cool off with an ice shower to reward students for meeting their fundraising challenge.

Students and faculty of the Education Department come together for a picture at the Kirksville Buddy Pack Walk.