College Council Awards
Nearly 200 college Knights, representing almost 80 colleges and universities, attended the October 2016 College Councils Conference at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council office.
College councils on 38 campuses earned the distinction of Star Council, showing their strength in membership, insurance and programming.
Council 1477 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., received the award for highest net gain in membership, having recruited 90 new members. Council 8288 at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va., earned the award for highest percentage gain in membership by expanding its roster by 57.5 percent.
Council 9542 at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., added 11 new insurance members, earning the award for highest net gain in insurance members. And for the second consecutive year, Council 15457 at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., was recognized for having the highest percentage gain in insurance membership, experiencing a growth of 9.6 percent over this past year.
The Church Activity Award
The Church Activity Award was presented to Council 10790 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Inspired by the Texas Rally for Life, these Knights implemented a pro-life rosary drive through their chapel and campus ministry. First, new and used rosaries were collected; repaired; and blessed by the council chaplain. Next, they were donated to local pro-life pregnancy centers and distributed among participants of prayerful vigils outside abortion clinics. Since the program’s inception last year, the council has collected and distributed hundreds of rosaries.
Community Activity Award
Council 10624 at Texas A&M University in College Station received the Community Activity Award for remodeling and repairing their community’s retreat facilities, which were in need of a new shower facility and other major repairs. The Texas A&M Knights spent numerous Saturdays setting the foundation; building walls; and installing plumbing, tile and a roof. After nearly a year of work, the building was finally finished and is now regularly used by retreatants throughout the diocese.
Council Activity Award
The Council Activity Award went to Council 16402 at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., for their contributions to their school’s annual Vocations Jamboree, which this year brought more than 30 religious orders and many charitable organizations to campus. Despite being chartered only a month before the event, the new council was well-organized and able to man shifts throughout the entire jamboree. During the event’s central Mass, celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, the Knights served as ushers, lectors, acolytes and choir members. Following the event, they also assisted the university in cleaning up.
Family Activity Award
Council 13635 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., was awarded the Family Activity Award for its Easter Family Program, during which the council celebrated the feast day with the less fortunate of their community. On Easter Sunday, the Knights traveled to a local shelter to prepare an Easter dinner. They also purchased small trinkets, filled Easter eggs with chocolates and candy for an egg hunt, and made small gift bags for the children. The event was a great success and was much appreciated by both the local community and members of the council.
Youth Activity Award
The Youth Activity Award was presented to Council 13242 at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., for their altar serving program. Each week, council members participated in the altar serving ministry at a local parish, assisting with four Masses. When several elementary-aged children expressed an interest in learning how to serve, the council’s director of liturgy and council chaplain held a class where children were taught how to serve the Mass. This was a great way to let young people experience the blessings that come with being an altar server, as well as an excellent opportunity for the Knights to serve as role models.
Culture of Life Activity Award
Council 10806 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., was awarded this year’s Culture of Life Award for their fifth annual Spring Formal and Fundraiser. The council hosted an evening formal event for council members, the campus ministry and other college councils from the area. In addition to students having a night of fun, ticket sales raised money for the Gabriel Project, a nonprofit organization that offers assistance and hope to single mothers experiencing a crisis pregnancy. This year, these Knights raised over $4,000.
Outstanding College Council Award
The Outstanding College Council Award was presented to Council 1477 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. The council’s success begins with its membership. In addition to having a well-practiced First Degree team, it utilizes a leadership development program that helps underclassmen contribute and prepare for future roles as officers. Both were instrumental in the council’s strong recruiting year.
This past year, the council also sought to extend its reach within the community by adopting five partner organizations. Teams of Knights visited these groups on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the needs of each. These organizations included a home for mentally handicapped adults, a local parish and a tutoring program for local youth. Other programs hosted by the council included a eucharistic procession, their annual senior banquet and a rosary for life.
Finally, while many councils hold successful annual events, it takes a special group of Knights to find ways to constantly improve these events and take them to new heights. Through new efficiencies and hard work, Council 1477 increased its annual fundraiser by over 25 percent, netting more than $90,000 for charity through their steak sandwich sale. Their work truly exemplifies an outstanding college council and the vision set forth by our founder, Father Michael J. McGivney.
These awards only briefly highlight the charitable initiatives performed by Knights of Columbus from over 360 college and university campuses worldwide.