The Club Animalia student organization at Hope College has received the national “Outstanding Community Service Award” from the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA).
The award was presented during the association’s 2013 Annual Symposium, held on Friday-Sunday, March 1-3, at the University of Florida in Gainesville. More than 500 students from more than 60 colleges and universities from throughout the United States and Canada attended the event.
The club’s advisor, Dr. Gregory Fraley, noted that the recognition is especially remarkable because the competition for it included much larger programs.
“There are many schools with hundreds of club members who have not earned this distinction,” said Fraley, an associate professor of biology at Hope who is a member of the APVMA’s advisory board.
Club Animalia works to promote the human-animal bond on campus and throughout the greater Holland area, and to provide services to students in order to increase awareness and stimulate interest in careers related to animal care. The group also provides voluntary services to those who work for the betterment of animals. Club Animalia has about 20 active members, and hosts the college’s pre-veterinary students as well as many students interested in education and community service.
The organization’s activities include four educational outreaches geared toward area children: a “Zoo 2 You” program through which members bring animals from the college’s Animal Museum to local elementary schools to teach about the natural history and life of wild animals; a similar program for home-schooled children; animal demonstrations for children attending Holland’s farmer’s market during the summer; and a year-long veterinary science program through Ottawa County 4H that teaches middle school and high school students about animal husbandry and well-being, and veterinary medicine and careers. Additional service activity focused on animals includes volunteering with and raising funds for the Harbor Humane Society. The group also participates in other charitable efforts, including the student-organized Dance Marathon held on behalf of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and the Relay for Life held on behalf of the American Cancer Society, and the Kentwood Jaycees “Forrest of Fear” haunted house.