New Lions Club chapter opens at Sam

It is the largest service organization in the world with membership numbers at 1.3 million in 202 countries and areas according to its website. Now the Lions Club has extended its reach to the students of Sam Houston State University.

The club at SHSU gained official membership Saturday at its charter night with Lions Club officials and is looking for members who are eager to serve.

“Lions Club International is all about making a difference in peoples’ lives,” Charles McDowell, the SHSU club sponsor, said. “If that is what you are interested in, Lions Club is for you.”

Club president Kayla Hughes said the club has been on a membership drive this week, giving out information to perspective members from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the mall area. Thursday, April 3 is the final day of the mall area drive; however, interested students can still contact Hughes about membership .

Charles McDowell, a 24 year club member with the Huntsville branch, began talking to university officials last year about starting a student branch of the club. McDowell saw success this spring when students began to respond to a message in the “Academic Weekly Affairs” e-mail with interest in joining.

Sophomore Kayla Hughes was one of the students to respond to McDowell’s e-mail. Hughes had experience with her hometown club and said she wanted to look into the idea of starting a club on campus.

“Five or six or us got together and spread the word,” Hughes said. “You need 10 for a club in the Sam rules, but the Lions Club requires 20.”

The students were able to get the required members and on Saturday, March 29 officially joined the Lions Club, becoming the 13th college in the state of Texas to join.

“It’s a really cool feeling to be apart of the world’s largest volunteer organization,” Hughes said.

The Lions club services often focus on controlling blindness dating back to when Helen Keller approached the group and asked them to be “Knights of the Blind.” Because of this, the SHSU club plans to do a of used glasses drive in the future, McDowell said. They also hope to participate in some Good Shepard missions such as food drives.

“The Lions Club slogan is ‘we serve,’ ” Hughes said. “So anything that is going to be going on at Sam that includes service, we can help.”

The club plans to meet weekly on Thursdays in LSC room 304. For more information, contact Kayla Hughes at

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