Our History

The History of CKI

In the midst of the Great Depression, in 1936, the Kiwanis Club of Pullman, Washington, took a creative step in helping young men attend Washington State College, today’s Washington State University. The club established the Circle K House in Pullman, described as a kind of housing scholarship program for students. Sponsored by Pullman Kiwanis, the house also affiliated with a fraternity for ten years. It combined community service with fellowship. This was the first step in the creation of Circle K, today an international service and leadership organization for college and university students.

Today, CKI boasts a membership of more than 13,000 collegians on nearly 550 campuses worldwide. CKI is a student-led organization with an International Board of Trustees elected by its membership each year. Embodied by its tenets of leadership, fellowship, and service at the club, district, and International levels, CKI continues to grow through service tot he world’s campuses and communities.

You can learn more about the history of CKI by visiting the website of the Indiana District of CKI, and the website of the Kiwanis Club of Pullman.


The History of CKI at Notre Dame

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On September 12, 1995, the CKI Club of Notre Dame, sponsored by the South Bend (Downtown) Kiwanis club, was re-chartered by Brian Cullen and Ray Petrino. They envisioned the system of service that we enjoy: one where there are many projects at many different times. This, they felt, would attract more members, which would allow for more projects and greater flexibility for members. This was a novel idea at the time since most CKI club did (and still do) just a few projects a month and most Notre Dame service organizations either had a similar format or concentrated specifically on one or two projects.

Though the club began with just a few people, by the end of the 1996-97 year, the CKI Club of Notre Dame had an amazing 108 members. The following year, Notre Dame had more than 140 members, earning the award for World's Largest Circle K at International Convention. The founders' hard work and big dreams paid off as CKI projects now host hundreds of volunteers performing service throughout the South Bend community. Membership support, active officers, and continual improvement of the club will allow our chapter to grow and serve South Bend for years to come.