Group photo
Pictured from left are David Turnquist, associate vice chancellor, Facilities Management; Veronica Searles Quick, president of CU Anschutz Student Senate; Leanna Clark, vice chancellor of University Communications; Ronald McDonald; Pam Whitaker, Ronald McDonald House executive director; CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman; and Scott Arthur, vice chancellor of Developm

Veronica Searles Quick, president of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Student Senate, joined other CU Anschutz leaders to prepare and serve a deluxe potato-bar lunch at the Ronald McDonald House of Aurora on Wednesday.

“This is fantastic. I absolutely love it,” she said, a few minutes before house guests sat down to a hot meal on a snowy day. No doubt Quick would be thrilled to pitch in on another round of service.

And volunteer she will. The CU Anschutz Student Senate is scheduled to provide breakfast at the same Ronald McDonald House, 932 Potomac Circle, just a half-mile south of campus, later this month. Wednesday’s outing was part of the annual CU in the Community effort.

Still time to volunteer

The CU in the Community campaign continues through Feb. 28, so there is still plenty of time to volunteer. Students and alumni are also encouraged to participate. To sign up go to the CU in the Community page. For more information, contact Leah Novak at [email protected] or (303) 315-0260.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni are encouraged—sometime during the campaign’s three-month span—to spend a half-day in their work week volunteering in the community. This year’s featured community partners are Brent’s Place and Ronald McDonald House. Last week, the CU Denver leadership team volunteered in the dining room of the Ronald McDonald House of Denver.

In addition to Quick, the CU Anschutz leadership team included Chancellor Don Elliman; Leanna Clark, vice chancellor of University Communications; David Turnquist, associate vice chancellor, Facilities Management; Scott Arthur, vice chancellor of Development; and Leah Novak, program and events manager.

Ronald McDonald House serves as a home-away-from-home for families whose seriously ill or injured children are being treated at area hospitals. The Aurora house mostly serves families whose children are being cared for by University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado and National Jewish Health.

“I think activities like this really foster a connection between the university and the community,” Quick said. “They help us move forward to really help address the community’s needs. Also, it demonstrates a sense of goodwill by the university—that we’re here to be a partner.”

Quick, who hopes to become an adolescent psychiatrist, said volunteering is a valuable way for health care students to get a wider view of their future profession: humanitarian service. “It’s a way to get to know the people we’ll be working with,” she said.

Clark, who leads University Communications, said the service day is also an opportunity to bond with colleagues. “I think it’s terrific to do something like this,” she said. “Also, it’s really nice to see the positive impact that the Anschutz Medical Campus has on the community.”

Families hosted by the Ronald McDonald House come from across the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains region. They stay an average of 21 days, said Kendra Ingles, director of house operations, and demand is so great that the Denver and Aurora Ronald McDonald Houses each turn away an average of eight to 10 families a day.

Pam Whitaker, executive director, said volunteer groups who pitch in are essential. She said many professionals from CU Anschutz generously volunteer at Ronald McDonald House of Aurora.

For instance, Kevin Lillehei, MD, chair of the Neurology Department in the School of Medicine, is a regular volunteer at the Sky High Hope Camp put on each summer outside Golden by the local Ronald McDonald Houses. The camp is a fun-filled week of outdoor activities for children with cancer.

“We couldn’t exist without the volunteers,” Whitaker said. “They’re the heart of our house, as we say. They keep us running.”

The CU in the Community campaign continues through Feb. 28, 2015.