By Adam Kelly | The Duquesne Duke
Senior occupational therapy major Kaitlyn Kerrigan won $10,000 in Amway’s “Who Cares Challenge: Youth Leadership Contest” for FeelGood, a project she works with in conjunction with Duquesne Circle K.
Circle K International is the world’s largest student-led collegiate service organization and the umbrella organization of the FeelGood project at Duquesne.
Kerrigan, 21, wrote to Amway, which is short for “American Way,” this past summer about how she wanted to work with FeelGood to raise money for The Hunger Project, which is a non-profit organization that works to end world hunger.
Of the 100 semifinalists for Amway’s “Who Cares Challenge,” Kerrigan’s piece won a top-10 prize, which garnered the $10,000 reward.
Currently, FeelGood operates at Duquesne in a deli format, serving grilled cheese sandwiches to students for donations at 10 p.m. on Friday nights.
In Kerrigan’s entry to Amway, she claimed that FeelGood had raised almost $1,000 toward The Hunger Project by selling grilled cheese sandwiches to Duquesne students.
Kerrigan said she first heard about FeelGood at the University of Vermont and thought it would be great to bring to Duquesne, as it would be an easy way for her and other students to volunteer.
“Duquesne students are usually really busy with schoolwork, so this is an easy way to help out,” Kerrigan said.
Kerrigan is the chair of the FeelGood project and has been involved with FeelGood since she was a sophomore.
Splitting the responsibility is junior mathematics major and business minor Joseph Gault, who serves as co-chair of FeelGood.
Gault said he joined FeelGood last year when he heard about the project and wanted to help out.
Gault said he handles the business aspects of Feel Good like website design, advertising and putting up flyers around campus.
Kerrigan’s role in the project is integral, as she actively participates in retreats and conferences promoting FeelGood, according to Gault.
“Katie’s involvement is wonderful and honestly inspiring,” Gault said.
Ben Andrick, last year’s Circle K president, said he credits Kerrigan’s dedication to the project throughout its growing process. Andrick is currently a fifth year pharmacy student and a member of Circle K.
“Katie’s dedication was nothing less than awe-inspiring,” Andrick said. “You get people with an idea like this that are very dedicated for the first 20 or so days, then it kind of tails off, but not Katie.”
Andrick also said Kerrigan could be one of the “most amazing” volunteers and her level of passion blows his mind.
FeelGood is doing well, in large part because of Kerrigan, as awareness for the project across campus has increased, according to Andrick.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about helping people who need food,” Andrick said. “That is a truly noble cause.”