The 367 Project Carries on Richards’s Memory
Though his time at Penn State was short, Tom Richards left a lasting impression on his friends and peers. In August, while on retreat with the Leadership Jump Start class that he was a TA for, Richards died of a hemorrhage brought on from a brain aneurysm, shortly before the start of his sophomore year. In his memory, his friends and family have united to carry on his zest for service and leadership through The 367 Project.
Started by 2010 graduate Mike Thomas, the project is named for the time Richards spent as a Penn State student. During these 367 days, he greatly influenced his fellow students, compelling them to carry on this impact. The project is based out of Philadelphia, PA but has a local chapter operating at Penn State.
The 367 Project aims to uncover relevant community issues and to find sustainable, lasting solutions for these problems. Each year, the organizations selects a theme for its initiatives and projects, but all themes fit into three overarching categories: Empowering Youth, Living, Working and Playing in a Sustainable Environment, and Developing our Communities. This year’s theme for the project is Youth Issues: Success in School.
“Although both the national and local chapters will be working under the same theme, our projects will not be the same. We get to have free range on what projects we do and we get to come up with more relevant projects that will meet the exact needs of the community we live in,” said Mike Kachmar, President of the Penn State chapter of The 367 Project.
Members of the Penn State chapter are divided into three committees: elementary, secondary, and collegiate education. Their goal is to identify the needs of the greater State College area for the success of youths in school at all three levels. After identifying the issues that are inhibiting students, the group will plan projects in order to foster success for students.
After 367 days, members will begin work on projects for a new theme. However, the goal of the organization is that the impact work done over this time period will not end after the 367th day, much like Richards’s impact on his peers.
The first year of programming for The 367 Project kicks of with Day One on February 27, a conference held at the Radisson in Valley Forge, PA. The conference will introduce upcoming projects and will feature key-note speakers focusing on leadership such as the head coach of Men’s Basketball at St. Joseph’s University, Phil Martelli. The PSU Chapter is working on organizing transportation from State College to Valley Forge. Information on tickets for the event can be found on the Day One page here.
General meetings for the Penn State chapter are held every other Sunday, and the next meeting will take place on February 13th 4pm in 117 Thomas. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend or can contact the chapter at [email protected]. For more information on Tom Richards and The 367 Project, visit the website here.