A Colorado State University student is being recognized Dec. 8 for his outstanding commitment to community service and working with disabled children at EPIC swimming pool.
Colorado State’s "Campus of Character" initiative, in conjunction with the city of Fort Collins, is encouraging and recognizing good character by developing programs that cultivate character development and build community. Each month a different character trait is promoted.
Luke Bracke, a senior biological science major, exemplifies service, which is November’s character quality.
Bracke is the coordinator for Special Needs Swim, a program within the Office for Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs. Special Needs Swim gives students and community members with disabilities the chance to develop relationships and interact for two hours every week. Students and their partners spend an hour in the pool for exercise, improving body coordination and fun. Bracke organizes the second hour for students to discuss the overarching issues facing people with disabilities and to reflect on their role as volunteers.
Bracke initiated "Circling for Hope," an event that raised more than $800 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. As part of the event, Bracke organized an educational day so guest speakers, parents and children living with cystic fibrosis could address another Service-Learning and Volunteer Program, the Campus Club.
Bracke also is involved with Alternative Spring Break, a program in which students trade the traditional spring break of beer and beaches for service projects. Bracke was an Alternative Spring Break coordinator in spring of 2002. He underwent a yearlong training at the Alternative Spring Break Site Leader School, then screened trip participants and spearheaded six hours of pre-trip orientation. He led a group of Colorado State students to New York City to volunteer at Rivington House, an HIV/AIDS hospital.
Bracke worked with Lifelong AIDS Alliance in Seattle in spring 2001 and helped to organize a fundraiser, "Dine Out for Life."
Bracke’s other service endeavors include volunteering for Cans Around the Oval, a food drive; Campus Club, a youth mentoring organization that pairs Colorado State students with children ages six to 11; and has been a group leader for CSUnity, a one-day community service event in which over 700 students complete service projects with local nonprofits.