Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Message: Community Service a Part of Life at KU

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Kansas is an active member of communities throughout Kansas. Our faculty, staff and students volunteer countless hours in service of others, both on their own and through events organized by university groups. And KU's commitment to the United Way is strengthened by the generosity you demonstrate each year.

One service project that I'm particularly excited about takes place this Thursday in Lawrence. The Big Event will send volunteers across the community to help neighbors, businesses and local organizations with painting, planting and other projects that will beautify and benefit our community.

It is not too late to volunteer to be a part of The Big Event, and I would encourage you to do so by signing up here.

This student-initiated project is a wonderful example of how KU students give back to the community. And it is just one example.

Many students participated in Alternative Breaks last week, volunteering with charitable organizations across the country. And this Wednesday marks the start of Into the Streets Week, organized by the Center for Community Outreach.

This annual event highlights volunteer opportunities throughout the community. This year it kicks off with a speech Wednesday night by Greg Mortenson, whose work building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan is highlighted in the book Three Cups of Tea. He serves as an example of how a dedicated individual can truly change the lives of others.

The KU Advocacy Corps was created to build relationships with community groups that make a difference. Of course, a dedication to service is shared by students and employees at all of our campuses and offices across the state.

The KU Medical Center is widely known for the care it provides across Kansas through telemedicine and medical outreach trips. But it also provides health services to underserved individuals in Kansas City and Wichita through the student-run JayDoc clinics. And the annual KUMC Street Fair offers health screenings to members of the Rosedale community.

At the same time, the Edwards Campus is home to an Autism Resource Center through a partnership with the Life Span Institute's Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training. This resource center provides parents, teachers and service providers with access to books, DVDs and services that help enrich the lives of children and adults with autism.

We often talk about how KU works for Kansas. Sometimes it is by educating the next generation of leaders or by making discoveries that improve lives. But sometimes it is simply by rolling up our sleeves and stepping forward to work for the communities we all care about.

Bernadette Gray-Little

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.