By Raul Lopez, ’12
Three years ago, Meagan Allers wasn’t involved in many extracurricular activities. Today, this member of the Class of 2013 has become one of the most active student leaders on campus.
As she prepared for college, she realized that she wanted the next chapter in her life to be a little more fulfilling than high school. As she travelled down I-90 on Move-in Day from her Buffalo suburb of Amherst, N.Y., she decided that Fredonia was a blank canvas, waiting for her to begin painting a “stellar” masterpiece.
“When I came to college, I knew that I wanted to get involved – not be just another number, but be known for something,” Ms. Allers, a junior early childhood education major, recalled. “I knew that college is the place where you have the opportunity to grow as an individual, and make strides to prepare for the real world.”
She wasted little time.
In just her first two years on campus, this Williamsville East High School graduate served as president of the sophomore class and the Alma Mater Society, a member of the Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, and on the board of the Faculty Student Association. She has also been selected as the student representative to the Fredonia College Foundation Board of Directors for the 2011-12 academic year.
However, most people across campus know Meagan as the vibrant president of the Fredonia for St. Jude chapter, an organization dedicated to raising money for the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn., dedicated to children’s cancer research.
Allers’ transition from “watcher” to “doer” began with mustering up the poise to approach Vice President for Academic Affairs Virginia Horvath for a bit of advice.
“She took the initiative to come to my office to ask me about leadership opportunities, as well as ways to develop her own potential,” Dr. Horvath explained. “I was impressed by her confidence, her curiosity and her eagerness to be involved and do a good job.”
In leading Fredonia for St. Jude, she and her fellow students have helped the group attain much greater visibility across campus, including developing a pro-active relationship with Fredonia’s student-run media as well as the Office of Public Relations. All of this has led to over 40 new members since her freshman year. She’s also made a point to ensure that people enjoy the time they spend volunteering with the group.
“We make sure to include ‘fun’ in our fundraising activities,” said Allers. “Through our continued enthusiasm, we have been able to raise $25,000 in the past two years, which is more than I had ever hoped for.”
During the group’s primary fall fundraiser, Up ’Til Dawn, students are asked to complete pre-written donation letters from the research hospital, addressing them to family and friends. “We had over 250 students come and write more than 5,500 letters this year,” said Allers. In addition, Fredonia for St. Jude welcomed Ashley Bedard, a college student who is currently being treated at St. Jude, as its keynote speaker.
Meagan credits her parents, Tom and Laurie – both of whom have been involved with various not-for-profit boards during their careers – for leading by example and creating an environment of community service for her as she grew up.
“Being in this atmosphere at home, I feel I’ve learned how to have the best chance of helping others,” said Allers.
This knowledge paid dividends campus-wide this past year, as Fredonia for St. Jude took first place in a national video competition via Facebook by showcasing its fundraising efforts. Their hard work benefitted everyone, as Fredonia for St. Jude was awarded 10 new Apple iMac computers, which have since been installed in Reed Library for all students to use. The group was also asked for the second straight year to send a representative to St. Jude’s Collegiate Leadership Seminar in Memphis, which Allers attended in the summer of 2010.
Her hard work with St. Jude’s has helped her financially too. This past fall she was recognized by the Buffalo Chapter of the American Association of University Women as the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship in the name of Jacquie Walker, a long-respected news anchor with Buffalo’s WIVB-TV.
However, above all, Meagan is gaining an education that far exceeds the boundaries of a classroom, and that, she insists, is worth more than everything else, because it has reaffirmed the path she is pursuing.
“I grew up a ‘people person,’ and being an education major has helped me realize that I want to choose a career that allows me to help people, just as my parents have shown me.”