On September 23, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy ‘Water Lillies’ took to the Indiana Central Canal as part of the 9th annual IUPUI Regatta, a half-mile canoe relay competition involving teams of up to six IUPUI students, faculty/staff, and alumni. Leading that team as captain was Kinga Horvath, a master’s student from Hungary who was participating in the regatta for her second year.
Horvath was inspired to join the regatta team in her first year.
“My mom is from a village next to the Danube (River), so we used to paddle out there. I’m not a professional, though!” she said. “So last year, I said, ‘If it’s just for fun, I’d really like to join the team.’ This year, I said, ‘I’m happy to give up my place because everyone should experience the unique feeling of being part of this team. However, if you need a person, I’m more than happy to do it.’ ”
Horvath joined undergraduate students Sana Ahmed, Arriana Rainwater, Elizabeth Williams, Kellie Waring, and Brittany Hadden as members of the Water Lillies team.
The Water Lillies had several practices leading up to the race itself.
“We had one practice on the canal that’s organized by the Regatta Committee. Then we practiced at Eagle Creek Park,” Horvath said. “I hadn’t met most of the girls prior to our practices. It’s fun and a nice way to meet other students who are in different philanthropic studies degree programs.”
Soon after, race day arrived. Horvath arrived extra early in order to look around and get a feel for the event. The Regatta itself features a canoe relay race, with two students rowing for a quarter-mile on the downtown Indianapolis canal, jumping out, and two students rowing back. During the 2017 race, the Water Lillies proudly met their first goal – “we didn’t get wet!” and also managed to erase several seconds off of their time from last year.
“It’s a fun day. Students and faculty members line the sides of the canal. We paddled hearing the cheers and wishes from the school staff, faculty, classmates, and family members,” Horvath said.
For her, it meant something extra special too.
“There are always lots of people from the school,” she said. “Dean (Amir) Pasic and executive associate dean (Patrick) Rooney have come for both of my years on the team. For me, it’s so special that the head of the school is there and they are cheering for you and talking with the other students. It’s informal yet motivating and it feels like a family, especially for someone whose family lives far away.”
Horvath also noted the importance of acting as an ambassador for the school.
“We were really thankful for the excellent T-shirt design,” she said. “It’s a perfect starting point for a conversation. If someone doesn’t know about the school or what we do, it’s a great way to represent the school and explain what we are studying. I think it is also wonderful that we can represent the school in this way because it supports us.
“For example, I received several emails from people who said they couldn’t come but wanted to wish me luck anyway. It’s such a great feeling.”
Horvath also felt that when she first arrived to the master’s program.
“It was my first time in the U.S. when I arrived for orientation. Everybody was so helpful and so friendly,” she said. “I received lots of support from several people, so it made it all easier. I feel that it’s my turn to give back to this outstanding community as much as possible.”
When Horvath is not rowing a canoe down the canal, you can find her on the third floor of University Hall at the school, taking classes and working as a research assistant. Her future plans may not include professional rowing, but she is committed to making a difference in other ways.
“I came over on a Fulbright Scholarship,” she said. “After graduating and doing a postgraduate program, I want to return to Hungary and bring the knowledge I’ve learned here back in order to support and improve philanthropy in my home country.”
Abby Rolland is the blog content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.