BY HALEY HODGES
Thanks to Stalnaker Hall resident assistant (RA) Anna Gleason, the Crush for Chrysalis fundraiser event is returning to campus for a second year.
Gleason started the fundraiser last year while she lived in Stalnaker as a first-year. She said she was excited to bring it back when she found out she had been assigned to the hall as an RA for 2016-17.
“Last year, I brought the idea to my hall executive council (EC) because I was the vice president at the time and we did it around a similar time, right before Valentine’s day,” Gleason said. “It was the same concept, except this year I’m partnering with another RA on our staff, Danielle Buettner, and we’re doing it as one of our service programs. We partnered with EC as well so they could also count it as a program.”
For the fundraiser, Gleason, Buettner and Stalnaker’s EC ran a table in Olmsted, selling cans of Crush soda to be delivered to someone on campus or Greek Street on Valentine’s Day. Gleason said the idea came from a similar event she had done in the past.
“In high school, we did an event called Crush for your Crush,” Gleason said. “You would buy a Crush can and send it to your crush, and the student council would deliver it on Valentine’s Day, but usually the money just got cycled back into our fund in order to fund future events. When I was brainstorming ideas at the start of second semester for my hall executive council to do, I really wanted to do a service opportunity. So, I thought I could take the basis of the idea of Crush for your Crush and make it valuable and change it into something that also benefits a nonprofit in the area. Then I thought Crush for Chrysalis, an alliteration of sorts, and a great nonprofit to benefit.”
The cans were sold for a dollar each and all of the proceeds go to the Chrysalis Foundation, located in the East Village.
“Chrysalis is a public charity that raises money to support women and girls in greater Des Moines,” said Terry Hernandez, the executive director at Chrysalis.
Hernandez is also Gleason’s aunt, which she attributed as part of her interest in the organization.Gleason said she found “Chrysalis to be a worthwhile and great nonprofit in the area.”
Gleason, a Des Moines native, said she had volunteered with Chrysalis before and knew the organization already had ties with Drake University.
Hernandez said Chrysalis has partnered with Drake in numerous ways, included hosting the movie “Miss Representation,” having young girls work out with the women’s basketball team, having students from the pharmacy program talk to kids in school about the dangers of misusing medications and drugs, and have regularly had interns and volunteers from Drake in the past.
Drake is also tied to Chrysalis because there are Drake students from the area that Chrysalis has helps.
“We try to get the girls in our after-school programs to look at Drake as potentially their college, so we’re hoping to continue to do a little more of that,” Hernandez said.
Gleason and Hernandez both talked about the after-school program as one of the most beneficial services that Chrysalis offers.
“Given that there are students at Drake who went through Chrysalis’ afterschool program and are now at college because of it, it’s important to support the nonprofits and things in the area that supported our own students,” Gleason said.
Gleason said she hopes that she can continue the project each year for Valentine’s Day and hopes it can be taken over by someone else once she graduates.
“Supporting local nonprofits and businesses, I think, is always a worthwhile endeavor,” Gleason said. “Knowing that Chrysalis does tangible and impactful work really went into the decision as well as knowing they have a 100- percent giveback, so you know definitively that your donations will be going toward something.”