What does a day look like in the life of a philanthropic studies student? We’re about to show you. In this series, three students in three different academic programs (Ph.D., M.A., and B.A.) take you inside their lives for a day to show you what it’s like learning, living, and breathing philanthropy. This week we highlight a day in the life of bachelor’s student Jonathon Hawkins.
My name is Jonathon Hawkins, a junior in the bachelor’s program at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I was born in Indianapolis and grew up for the first nine years of my life in Tipton, Indiana. Then, I moved to San Antonio, Texas with my family. After I turned 12, I came back to Indy and I have been here ever since. I graduated from Southport High School and then, my world traveler parents decided to move to Houston and are currently in Oklahoma City. And while I for sure miss my parents, being away from them has allowed me the opportunity to grow as a person and do all sorts of amazing things.
Here at IUPUI, I am currently an incredibly active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), a social fraternity on campus, as well as currently (two more weeks) serving as the president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). I am incredibly passionate about Jagathon, IUPUI’s dance marathon, and work hard every year to support the kiddos at Riley Children’s Hospital in any way I can.
One thing people often underestimate is the time a student has to devote when it comes to not only being a student but also living a life that they enjoy. As such, I am quite busy. What follows is an account of an average Wednesday, in this case April 18, 2018. While busy, it’s good to note that I enjoy what I do. I would never give so much of my life to something that I didn’t care about.
|5:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.||Work downtown at the Irsay YMCA|
|9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.||Make breakfast and walk to campus|
|10:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.||Class with Dr. Burlingame and Professor Pruitt|
|1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.||Hangout in the Cube area with my fraternity brothers and work on a group project|
|3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.||Ten-year anniversary planning for my fraternity|
|5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.||Prep for Take Back the Night|
|6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.||Hold executive meeting for USG|
|7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.||Take Back the Night walk against sexual violence|
|8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.||Library time|
I work at the Irsay Family YMCA in downtown Indianapolis as a wellness coach from 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Thursday. My daily duties consist of watching the wellness floor, working with individuals who have a passion for working out and designing plans for them, and overall making sure that people are practicing proper techniques.
The cool thing about working at the YMCA is that I get to see the bottom level of one of America’s largest nonprofit organizations without actually working in the administration side. It’s influenced my view of eventually working for nonprofits someday through a few key insights. First off, you have to value everyone. At the YMCA, from the CEO all the way down to a custodian, there is a mutual respect for every position, and I’ve learned to be successful this is what you must do.
Second, not everything you think of a nonprofit is true. Many people just think of organizations who ask for money (constantly) and want tax breaks. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. At the Y, I have had the chance to actually see how a little bit of help can make a change in someone’s life at any level and the joy it brings to do such a thing.
Just getting started
I currently live in an apartment right next to campus and will usually head there immediately after work. I’m greeted usually (unless it’s been a long night of studying) by my roommate, Alex Brinker, a kinesiology major graduating this May and hoping to attend medical school here at IU. With him, I have learned many of my best study techniques.
Once home however, I’ll typically shower, change, make myself some breakfast (I’m partial to frozen waffles), and then start my walk to campus. Some days this is a very casual walk, while others, considering Indiana’s indecisiveness on weather, can be quite frantic trying to stay out of the cold. On this specific day, it’s actually quite nice.
On Wednesdays, I have two philanthropic studies courses. At 10:30 a.m., I get the opportunity to be taught by Dr. Dwight Burlingame in PHST-210 Philanthropy and the Social Sciences. In this course, we’ve had the opportunity to look at the philanthropic sector as a whole, and establish why people give and where they give, while also (slowly but surely) come up with an amazing song about philanthropy.
Shortly after that, I also have the chance to be in PHST-212 Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, taught by Professor Anna Pruitt. In this course, I have been introduced to two very unique nonprofits in Indianapolis. They are the Dayspring Center and Wheeler Mission. Being able to visit these organizations has offered a chance for me to really to see how nonprofits have to work hard for all they do, as well as shown me the rampancy of homelessness in Indianapolis.
After my time in class, I always try to block out both some free time and time to study. I usually make my way over to the Campus Center and first grab lunch. On days like today, Chick-fil-A is a must considering its status as the best form of southern comfort food on campus. I always go to the Cube on the third floor and try and sit with my brothers talking about anything ranging from chapter business, sports, to just the usual check-in on younger brothers.
As an SAE member since 2015, I have had the opportunity to serve in a plethora of leadership roles ranging from recruitment chair to the Eminent Archon (President) this past year in which we had worked to accomplish many goals, including, but not limited to building a stronger brotherhood, increasing our chapter size, and making our presence known on this campus.
During this time, I also try and accomplish as much work as possible on one of the group projects I am working on. In my PHST-212 course, I am currently working on a community action project concerning housing affordability in the Indianapolis area. Our goal is to provide information to our class and other students about housing affordability in Indianapolis as well as introduce us to nonprofits attempting to help support those affected by housing affordability in Indy.
The other project I am currently working on is the final exam for my PHST-330 Intro to Fundraising class. With this course, we have worked all semester to learn the basics of not only fundraising, but the foundation to building a successful nonprofit. And with our final exam, we take a look at a case study involving an improperly handled nonprofit, and how to reverse its course from the top down. This course is taught by the legendary professor Bill Stanczykiewicz, from whom I have learned not only how to effectively fundraise, but how to truly be a better man.
On this specific Wednesday, I’ve scheduled out time from 3-5 p.m. to sit down and develop the plan for my chapter’s 10-year anniversary committee. This fall we are celebrating our 10th year here at IUPUI (second-oldest fraternity) and there a lot of components to what we plan to do. Part of the plan calls for fundraising around $5,000 for our operations from alumni in the Indianapolis area and $20,000 for Jagathon, our philanthropy.
Figuring out exactly how we are going to accomplish this is a big part of our planning and my experience in philanthropy has helped in several ways. First off, I have learned how to conduct an effective fundraising campaign, and also how to get people behind an idea. The right idea is the key to any successful fundraising campaign. And second, our program has taught me to unleash my passion, and truly give all of my support to a cause.
The next few hours are especially busy. This specific Wednesday is the day of Take Back the Night, a walk through our campus to show solidarity and support for survivors of sexual violence as well as a community speak out in our Campus Center atrium.
Up until this point, I have worked with the SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) Planning Committee on not only this event, but other events as well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate in the actual walk due to a conflicting meeting. However, I was told afterward we had a nice turnout from students and faculty at the walk-through campus.
That conflicting meeting happened to be an Exec meeting for the USG. I have been lucky enough to serve as the president of USG since May 2017. Public service is something I have always believed in. Working with the USG, I have had the opportunity to convey student thoughts and feelings about various issues to not only the Chancellor, but the entire IUPUI administration and Board of Trustees for Indiana University.
For me, one moment this year that really made the entire experience was the moment I was able to speak about the past USG elections and our commitment to student life at Jagathon. Immediately following this speech, we had the largest voter turnout in years for our election. At this specific meeting, we are discussing legislation for the last couple weeks of school as well as how we should go transition to the next administration.
Winding down a busy day
If you thought this was over, you aren’t necessarily wrong. The fun part of my day is most certainly over. At around this time, especially with finals near, I will usually head to the library (also where this is being written!) and work on either my projects or other random projects. It just happens to also be dinner time, so like many other nights, UberEATS is my savior. Then after a couple hours of studying, I head home to a comfy bed and rest after such a busy day. After all, I’m going to have to get up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Now to say that was a busy day is an understatement. But what’s important is this isn’t a rare case. To be successful at what you want to do in life it takes time. I have always been told that you will get out what you put in when it comes to life. And with that mentality, I strive to be as involved in our campus as possible.
I strive to improve conditions for every student so that every single one of us has a better experience. Far too many students come to school and just go home at the end of the day. There is an entire community of engaged students waiting to welcome them with open arms, and you don’t have to be as involved as myself. I merely just like taking things to the next level.