Gianna Cognetti, Features Editor
Many animal shelters across America are non-profit organizations that do everything in their power to care for the animals residing there. However, they face numerous downfalls due to lack of funding. Such shelters rely on volunteers and often don’t make enough to care for all the animals. UC students Taylor Miller, Katelyn Weed and Kerri Calkins are huge animal lovers and decided to take matters into their own hands.
The three roommates recently began the Animal Shelter Awareness club (ASA). Inspired by the problems most animal shelters face regarding funds, ASA is a club for anyone who wants to devote their time to raising money, purchasing supplies and spreading awareness on such circumstances for local animal shelters.
Although the club is new to UC, they have already started working with and helping out Steven-Swan Humane Society located on Horatio St. in Utica.
“Right now we are working with Steven-Swan Humane Society,” Miller said. “When we start to get more people involved in the club, we are going to try to help more animal shelters.”
Raising awareness is a large part of the ASA club. The more people know about the difficulties most animal shelters struggle with, the more people can get involved and help the cause.
“The impact we want to have is to raise awareness for a good cause and charity,” Miller said.
Making a difference for the lives of animals in the shelter is important to Miller and the ASA club and they hope it can be important to many others as well.
“I think people should join this club so they can help raise awareness with us and help fundraise,” Miller said. “We will not turn anyone away.”
Katelyn Weed is a sophomore and health studies major who has adopted all of her pets from shelters. She said she desires to be involved in an organization that allows her to give back to the sheltered animals that have given her such joy.
“I have found the sweetest, most loving pets from shelters and believe these animals have so much love to give,” Weed said.
Physical therapy major Kerri Calkins said the club is important to her because of her overall love for animals and her hope to make a difference not only in the world but also in the animal shelters.
Julia Abel, a psychology major, said she is passionate about the club’s purpose as a whole yet finds it most significant to improve the lives of homeless animals.
ASA member and Nursing major Emily Shehorn said when animal shelters are not getting the funds they need, the animals suffer the consequences. They do not receive the attention they deserve and in most cases dogs don’t even get taken on walks.
Shehorn’s goals for the ASA club are to become more widespread throughout UC and she hopes for more volunteer opportunities with different ways to help various shelters.
“I feel it is important to support animal shelters so that the animals there have all they need and more,” Shehorn said. “It is great to be able to spread awareness for the animals waiting to be adopted into a family.”
The Animal Shelter Awareness club members all hope to see the club expand and grow into something larger than just a club. They have plans to work with as many different shelters as possible and the drive to do so. ASA wants to spread awareness in order to help sheltered animals obtain the love and support they need.