Eudoran leads Jayhawks roaring into campus Lions Club
Picturing the average Lions Club member, chances are it's not a student on the campus at Kansas University.
"At first we had a lot of people who thought Lions were all older, retired people," said Diana Folks.
The KU senior from Eudora founded the KU Lions in February, when Folks was the only member.
"The first couple of weeks I didn't have a lot of interest and was getting concerned about my club," she said. "It was a challenge, but it really took off pretty quickly."
By May, she said the club had amassed 30 members, many of them also from Eudora.
Folks, a 2000 Eudora High School graduate, drew fellow Cardinals into the club, including Sam Campbell, Aubry Jamison, Brett Becker, Neil Dunavin, Kristen Woodward and Jessica Evinger.
"When you're starting a club, you're trying to get your friends to join first," Folks said.
A communications studies major, Folks is minoring in leadership, a program started four years ago.
"That's a huge part of the minor -- to do a leadership activity, preferably on campus," she said.
While volunteering at Audio Reader, Folks was introduced through Eudoran Janet Campbell to a woman who suggested the Lions Club was interested in a KU students presence. According to the group's Web site, the Lions have a presence on more than 250 campuses worldwide.
"The Lions are trying to get a younger group involved," Folks said.
The local campus club, open to all KU students, faculty and staff, includes traditional college students, a few non-traditional students and doctoral students. Although most Lions clubs' pet projects deal with sight-related issues, Folks said the KU group was more involved with Habitat for Humanity, a project in which she said students had more interest.
Last semester the group was awarded the Outstanding New Student Organization of the Year from KU's Student Senate. With the university back in session, Folks said the club had about 15 new members since the semester started. Part of growing the club in its second year, she said, would be reaching out to incoming freshmen.
"I was thrilled with the amount of involvement and people actually being interested in the club," she said.
Folks said when the group met Tuesday it would elect officers for the upcoming academic year with hopes of securing a future for the organization after she graduates.
"I'm hoping with people stepping up into the leadership roles that will keep the interest there," she said.