Alumni in Seattle and Portland will be among wolves this Saturday, both figuratively and literally. They will gather to volunteer at Wolf Haven International for National Wolfpack Service Day, an annual event that allows alumni networks to engage in service projects in their communities.
Wolf Haven International is a nonprofit organization located in Tenino, Wash. Its mission is to aid in and promote wolf conservation, and it has served as a sanctuary to protect wolves and their habitats since 1982.
Wolf Haven International rescues displaced, captive-born wolves and is currently the home to 51 wolves, including gray wolves, wolfdogs, coyotes, red wolves and Mexican gray wolves.
Ryan Hester ’02, leader and one of the founders of the Pacific Northwest alumni network, moved to Seattle after graduation and quickly became homesick, with the absence of Wolfpack fans in the area. After finding out there are more than 900 NC State alumni in the Seattle area, he helped form the alumni network in November 2011.
For the last year, members of the Pacific Northwest alumni network have had several social mixers, networking events and game-viewing parties. But Saturday will mark their first service project. More than 20 people are expected to attend as the alumni will work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. pulling weeds, painting and cleaning up the grounds at the sanctuary.
Hester learned about Wolf Haven International while attending an auction on its campus with his wife. Soon after, he began thinking about volunteering at the wolf sanctuary with the alumni network.
“I felt that a service day on Wolf Haven’s campus would be a great way to show our Wolfpack pride in the Pacific Northwest,” Hester says. “Volunteering at a wolf sanctuary is so uniquely NC State.”
The Pacific Northwest alumni network’s National Wolfpack Service Day project was selected as the “Most Unique” service day event out of all the national alumni chapters at NC State. As a way to award the network, a local Starbucks will donate hot coffee and the Alumni Association will provide lunch for all volunteers.
Ellen Richardson ’01,’10, the director of outreach with the NC State Alumni Association, will help with the service project and eat lunch with the alumni afterward. A special group photo opportunity is also planned.
During his time as an undergraduate, Hester participated in Service Raleigh events and personally organized programs that benefited local organizations and inner-city community programs while he was a resident advisor. Today, Hester believes National Wolfpack Service Day is a benefit for all NC State alumni.
“National Wolfpack Service Day is a valuable opportunity to support our local community while showing our support and love for NC State no matter how far from Raleigh we live,” Hester says.