More than a ton of debris was cleared from the Ohio River as part of a serendipitous collaboration among Thomas More University and Covington Rotary.
That was just part of a fruitful connection that resulted in some real benefits to the community.
It began with a back porch conversation about the pandemic.
Brenda Kelly Fauber, service chair of the Covington Rotary, was commiserating with Judith Marlowe, chair of the Thomas More University board of trustees, over her disappointment that Covid-19 prevented the Rotary from celebrating its 2020 centennial with Thomas More, which was approaching its centennial celebration in 2021. The longest standing service club in Northern Kentucky and the first college of Northern Kentucky should celebrate such milestones together, they believed.
The two organizations share similar guiding principles around service to community, as well as decades of shared members, trustees, and administrators.
With the roots of both in downtown Covington, a history of shared leaders, and a mutual commitment to service, the idea arose to join in a day of projects to commemorate the relationship and celebrate their centennials.
On a Tuesday in mid-September, Thomas More students, faculty, and staff went to work alongside Covington Rotarians, including Thomas More alumni (former Secretary of State and State Rep. Ken Harper was among them). The Rotary Club connected Thomas More with ongoing service projects and found other opportunities to help out. In addition to the Ohio River cleanup, they included:
It was “an exciting and inspiring day for everyone who participated,” Fauber says. And, she says, the day of service will become an annual event.
- Removing debris and restoring a handicapped-accessible green space at the Behringer-Crawford Museum.
- Clearing and mulching Rotary Grove and trails in Devou Park.
- Sorting, packing, and delivering donated clothing to the Thomas More campus, in preparation to be sent to 7,000 people in need in Togo, Ghana, and Honduras.
- Preparing sandwiches and assembling personal hygiene kits for the Parish Kitchen, and painting benches at not-for-profit’s Madison Avenue location.