Being in a service organization at Ohio State might be a bit more glamorous than some would think.
GlamourGals is an organization of OSU students that cater to elderly women by engaging them in conversation and adding a touch of pizzazz to their physical appearance.
The members of the club go to nursing homes around central Ohio and give elderly women makeovers as well as provide company and companionship.
Kirsten Mullins, a fourth-year in finance, is the president and founder of the OSU chapter of GlamourGals, which she said is the first college chapter in Ohio. She was involved in the organization at the high school level when attending Olentangy Liberty High School and wanted to bring it to OSU.
“I thought it would be a good thing to bring to Ohio State because I looked at the student organizations and there is really nothing like it that caters to the elderly generation specifically,” Mullins said.
“Just being able to make them smile and make them feel special and beautiful is truly rewarding,” said Alexa Lynch, a second-year in marketing and fashion and retail studies.
Audrey Bledsoe, who works in undergraduate career services and education, serves as the adviser to GlamourGals. She said the students’ work in the organization is extremely important to the women they visit.
“Ultimately, these girls are doing small acts of kindness by pampering and socializing with these nursing home ladies. But these acts of kindness can make such an enormous difference in the happiness and well-being of the seniors,” Bledsoe said.
The OSU chapter travels to Wexner Heritage Village in Columbus twice a month to do the women’s nails and give makeovers, and provide manicures to some of the gentlemen as well.
The OSU chapter currently has 25 members, far exceeding the minimum 10 members needed to maintain a chapter. Membership in the OSU chapter has increased by 66 percent from last academic year to this academic year, Mullins said.
All 25 current members are women, but men are welcome to join, Mullins said.
Each chapter is required to pay a $100 registration fee annually to remain active and these funds come from the $10 dues each member pays to join the club, Mullins said.
Members of the club also participate in monthly social events. The club held a cookout at the beginning of the year to allow the new members to meet some of the older members and learn more about the club.
GlamourGals also does a fundraiser once a year and the proceeds go back to GlamourGals Nationals in New York City. Last year’s fundraiser was GlamourGals Night Out at Midway on High Street. The club raised more than $500 and the proceeds were sent back to nationals and used for various programs, events, scholarship funds and operating costs, Mullins said.
The club does not have any set meetings each week and the members see that as a positive aspect to the membership. Most events and trips are organized online because the members are all busy and meetings can be time consuming.
“We pride ourselves on being a low commitment organization. We know people do not have a lot of time to come to meetings and we don’t want to turn anyone away,” Mullins said.
Lily Clarkson, a third-year in public affairs and the social chair for GlamourGals, said she believes in what GlamourGals, founded in 2000, stands for — replenishing dignity in aging women, according to GlamourGals’ website.
“I would hope that if one day, myself or my loved ones were to be placed into a nursing home, there would be groups of great women like GlamourGals there to help make the experience more enjoyable,” Clarkson said.