December 21, 2009
Leadership development and volunteer service are highly valued at The College of Wooster,
and few take them more seriously than Jason Stewart. A senior sociology major from Salem, Ohio, Stewart is serving as international president of Circle K, a Kiwanis family service organization with chapters at colleges and universities across the country and around the world.
Stewart, whose first exposure to Kiwanis came in high school when he joined Key Club as a freshman, believes it is important for people of all ages to become involved in service. “I think a lot of us get way too caught up in our own lives,” he said. “Circle K, Key Club, and Kiwanis bring people of many different age groups together and reinforce the importance of service.”
As international president, Stewart’s primary objectives include recruiting members, strengthening clubs, and establishing new chapters — something he did very effectively while serving as Circle K Governor of Ohio. Stewart also wants to encourage members to attend international conventions so they can meet other service-minded individuals from around the world. His top priority is a renewed focus on the organization’s partner agencies: the March of Dimes, UNICEF, Better World Books, and Students Team Up to Fight Hunger, and he has initiated a service ambassador program to heighten awareness about the four groups.
On any given weekend, Stewart may awaken in Pennsylvania, Indiana, California, New York, or
Washington, D.C., for Circle K meetings or events, but wherever he finds himself, he realizes the importance of the job at hand. “We have nearly 12,000 members,” he said. “Making decisions for that many people can be stressful at times.”
Among the highlights of Stewart’s first four months in office was the opportunity to meet
with members of Congress to discuss service among high school and college students.
The combination of Stewart’s leadership experience and his Wooster education has been a major
advantage. “I’m getting a lot of real-world exposure,” he said. “I’m learning more about my leadership and organizational skills while trying to manage my academic responsibilities.”
After graduation, Stewart, who also served as vice president of Wooster’s Student Government
Association as well as lieutenant governor for Key Club and Circle K, hopes to remain actively involved with young people. He would like to pursue a career in student affairs and leadership development, but for now, he is trying to balance the demands of international leadership with academic scholarship. Not surprisingly, his Senior Independent Study Project (Wooster’s nationally
acclaimed undergraduate research endeavor, which matches each student with a faculty mentor in pursuit of a particular topic that culminates in a thesis, performance, or exhibition of artwork) will focus on what motivates college students to do community service.
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