When the Class of 1976 sponsored its first service-themed event in 2006 – a Reunions colloquium titled “Passion to Profession” – more than 100 people participated. According to Illa Brown ’76, the strong attendance and excitement in the room made organizers believe there was a chance to build on the class’s interest.
Brown and Mimi Murley ’76, with backing from classmates, founded Spirit of Service ’76, an initiative that has evolved and grown in the past five years, finding a niche in the areas of environmental and social entrepreneurship. Projects include a speaker series and a green business plan competition for undergraduates. Last year, Spirit of Service ’76 earned the Alumni Council Award for Community Service.
The project draws at least 90 volunteers and donors from the class each year, and according to Murley, the group’s neutrality has played a role in its broad appeal. “Though we may differ in our approaches, these issues affect us all and the future of our children,” she explained. “In an interesting way I also see it as an outgrowth of our stewardship and deepening compassion.”