University raises money for United Way campaign

With the Southwest Missouri United Way halfway to its 2006 goal, Missouri Southern’s campaign kicked off last week.

Those coordinating Southern’s effort don’t have a total amount raised to date, but they do have a end amount in mind.

“Last year we raised around $23,000,” said Liz Scheurich, bookstore coordinator. “We want to top that this year.”

“The amount we raised in 2005 was close to an all-time high,” said Dr. Conrad Gubera, professor of sociology.

Gubera has been involved with the United Way for more than 30 years.

“We hear of people taking care of their community, being inspired by Washington, D.C., and by churches and religion telling us to be our ‘brothers keeper,'” Gubera said. “How many times do we have that opportunity here?”

The overall goal of the Southwest Missouri United Way drive is to raise more than $1 million. To date, the current campaign has garnered $500,000.

“Each department has a team captain, and each team is trying to raise money for United Way,” Scheurich said. “We are going to have various events on campus to help with the fund raising efforts.

“CAB has a fund-raiser with the (SciFi Channel’s) “Ghost Hunters” at Halloween time and Southern Impact does something, usually a casino night.”

The money raised during the United Way campaign stays in southwest Missouri and goes to provide assistance for various agencies in Joplin, Webb City and Carl Junction.

“Everyone has a need, and they seem to always come to the United Way,” Gubera said.

“The funds raised by the campaign provides funds for a variety of services, including food, shelter and health services,” said Mary Little, executive director for United Way of Southwest Missouri.

“We really want our staff members, both full and part-time, to contribute to the United Way,” Scheurich said.

Gubera believes making contributions to the United Way campaign is something not reserved just for faculty and staff.

“More people on campus could contribute if they felt compassioned to,” he said.

“Southern has been a major contributor to the United Way. Without their support we would not be able to meet the needs we have,” Little said.

For those interested in the United Way and what services its supported agencies provide can attend the Second Annual United Way Showcase on Saturday at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is sponsored by St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Freeman Health System, and Southwest Missouri Bank.