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Community service comes full ‘Circle’

On one Tuesday night in March, about 100 students crowded around a series of tables lined up in Curry Student Center’s West Addition. As pop music blared through nearby speakers, they snatched up plastic knives and dug into jar after jar of peanut butter and jelly to make more than 3,000 sandwiches for more than a dozen local shelters.

Northeastern’s chapter of Circle K International organized the PB Jam event, which embodied the mission of the campus club—to have fun while engaging in meaningful service projects. Circle K International is a collegiate service organization sponsored by Kiwanis International that promotes service and leadership. Northeastern’s chapter organizes service activities throughout the year to benefit those in need across Greater Boston.

The chapter’s membership has skyrocketed over the last two years, thanks to an aggressive outreach campaign across campus and via social media, according to Will Bradford, a senior who recently concluded his term as president of Northeastern’s chapter. About 400 students have participated in at least one club activity this year, and the club’s core membership has recently grown from 45 to 135.

“We’ve done our best to create an atmosphere that students really enjoy, and they stay involved because they’re so committed to service,” Bradford said.

Every other Tuesday evening, club members meet to work on a service project. These include filling goodie bags for homeless children’s birthdays and making care packages for parents whose children are being treated at the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Students also make fleece blankets, activity books, and other gifts for children undergoing treatment.

Larger volunteer events like the PB Jam include book drives and blood drives for the American Red Cross. Club members collaborate with nonprofits and other organizations in Greater Boston to identify new ways Northeastern students can make a difference in the local community.

“It’s very meaningful to see others benefit from the projects we’re involved in,” said chapter president-elect Kristina Norris.