The Knights of Fordham

Interview with Ryan Quinn, FCRH ‘17

How would you describe the Knights of Columbus?

Our Fordham group is the Jack Coffey Chapter of the Knights. I would describe it as a brotherhood of a bunch of dudes who care about each other’s spirituality. It’s kind of like a symbiotic relationship in which we help each other be better people. It provides an organized way where I can do good things and it’s fun to plan events. If you don’t know how to be active in your community in a social service or faith oriented way, it’s a great starting point.

When did you first get involved with the organization?

I was walking at the club fair freshman year and I saw a big beautiful American flag next to a big beautiful Vatican flag. I thought to myself, that’s a club I wanna be a part of, so I approached the table and I said “what’s all this about?” They said “it’s the Fordham Knights of Columbus,” and I said “get right out of town, I want in.”

Can you tell me about your experience with the Knights?

When I first joined freshman year, they were still trying to gain student interest. I became Chancellor of the Knights and I really helped with recruitment, getting lots of my friends to join. Sophomore year I became Deputy Grand Knight, and this year I serve as Grand Knight. Throughout the past couple years we have grown a lot and started doing more programs.

What is the biggest event that you host?

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Ryan (2nd from right) with other Rugby participants

Our big annual fundraiser raises money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that funds research for pediatric cancer. The event is officially cosponsored with the Fordham University Rugby Football Club (FURFC), and we have volunteers shave their heads. When there are walks for breast cancer, the walking itself doesn’t heal cancer, but it’s a symbol of solidarity and commitment to the cause. It’s the same thing, plus the added benefit that you’re bald, so anybody you see for the next week or two will naturally ask why. Basically it’s free advertisement for the organization.

How do you raise money for the St. Baldrick’s event?

We spend about two months finding volunteers and accepting monetary donations beforehand, sometimes tabling outside the cafeteria. We educate the participants and they also gain support on their own. They make a profile on the St. Baldrick’s website and people can donate online. Jesuit scholastic Brian Strassburger shaved his head last year and raised almost $600. In addition to making it a service thing we want to make it fun, attracting people to the event and raising additional money. We had Fordham junior Justin Barker perform live music and ordered tons of food.

What other events do you guys have throughout the year?

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Stations around Eddie’s Parade

We sometimes organize liturgical events, like the Stations of the Cross around Eddie’s Parade during Lent. It was led by Fr. Koterski and Fr. Lienhard, and confession was offered afterward in the University Church for anyone interested. We also recently went to visit a veterans hospital to hang out with the elderly vets and just spend time with them.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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