Students Helping Rescue Animals club benefits animals, students


Photo courtesy of Michelle Thomas

The Students Helping Rescue Animals club was founded in 2010 with the mission to help rescue lost or abused animals through volunteer work, fundraising for them and education.

Samantha Weese

Iowa State has over 700 clubs and organizations that students can be involved in. Students Helping Rescue Animals is one of those clubs.

The Students Helping Rescue Animals club was founded in 2010 with the mission to help rescue lost or abused animals through volunteer work, fundraising and education.

Andrea Birkeland, senior in animal science, is a member and former president of the club. She discovered the club at the spring clubfest.

“I went to the next club meeting, and I immediately loved it,” Birkeland said. “Ali Bender, who was the club president at the time, captivated my interest at that first meeting, and I immediately started volunteering, helping with the bake sales and joined one of the committees right after.”

One of the requirements to maintain membership in the club is to devote two hours a month volunteering at local animal shelters, helping with bake sales and other club activities.

Members of the Students Helping Rescue Animals club carpool several times a week to volunteer at local shelters, such as the Boone Area Humane Society and the Story County Animal Shelter.

Jackie Myers, senior in animal science, pre-vet and current president of Students Helping Rescue Animals, also fell in love after finding out about the club.

“The aspect of helping animals who don’t always get as much help as they should and doing that through volunteering was very appealing to me, “ Myers said.

Besides volunteering at animal shelters, members also help animals in need by fundraising.

“In the fall, we have our 5K event called ‘Walk for Wet Noses.’ People can register and then come and walk or run and can even bring their dogs with them,” Myers said.

She also said that every other week, the club hosts a pizza sale, and once a month, they have a bake sale.

Something unique about the club is that they do not keep any of the money raised for the club itself. All money is directly donated to the local animal shelters.

“We also have a special fund called the Vitae fund. That is only for animals who need special care like heartworm treatment or surgeries that they wouldn’t otherwise receive because the shelters may have funding issues,” Myers said.

The Vitae fund is for any shelter in need, and any shelter may apply to receive money from the fund.

“The shelters apply to our Vitae fund, and we go through an approval process. Then we donate the money to that animal in need, which would otherwise be euthanized,” Birkeland explained.

Another way the club aims to help shelter animals is through educational events.

“Usually every two weeks or once a month, we have education events about breed-specific legislation, puppy mills and why you should spay and neuter your pets,” Myers said.

The club aims to educate people on the many myths and issues that are associated with shelter animals.

“My favorite part of the club is the education events,” Birkeland said. “You can only raise so much money and volunteer so many hours at the shelters, but the education is priceless.”

Club involvement is not only beneficial to those it aims to help, but it also benefits the member.

“The club has helped me a lot,” Myers said. “It definitely helped me gain leadership experience, and it’s an incredible help for your interpersonal skills.”

Birkeland, who was recently accepted to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, stated that her club involvement helped her as well.

“During my vet school interview, so many of my answers came from my leadership experience in the club,” Birkeland said.

Some upcoming events to look for from the Students Helping Rescue Animals club include meal bundle sales. On April 23, all proceeds from meal bundles purchased at the Memorial Union food court go to the club, which is donated to local animal shelters.

The club will also be hosting an event during Veishea, the Have a Heart Adoption Event.

“We bring in three to four adoptable dogs to our booth on Central Campus from local shelters in hopes of getting them adopted out,” Birkeland explained.

During last year’s Veishea adoption event, two dogs found permanent homes.

“We walk the dogs in the parade to kind of show them off, and it gives the shelters a place to have more people coming through and looking at the dogs and hopefully getting them adopted,” Myers said.

The Students Helping Rescue Animals club welcomes anyone with a passion for helping animals. “We are open to all majors,” Myers said. “And you don’t have to have any prior experience.”