Kaylynn Harris

Hometown:

Chicago, IL

Area of Study:

English & Political Science B.A.

Certificate in Fundraising & Philanthropy Communication

Leadership & Service Program:

Executive Member for the Hawkeye Service Team serving as Director of Promotion & Retention

Describe what you do for this program.

I assist in promoting and marketing Hawkeye Service Team and their Alternative Spring Break program. I help with student outreach and info session events. I also advise Student Leaders within the Hawkeye Service Team.

What have been your favorite memories with this program?

Last year I was a Student Leader for the Hawkeye Service Team Alternative Spring Break trip to St. Louis MO that focused on Education Equity. I felt the need to want to do more surrounding the issue so with the help of CSIL coordinators myself and another ASB Student Leader held a panel on Education Equity here on campus. We had panelists from education based nonprofits, the University of Iowa, the Kirkwood community and local student leaders on campus come together in dialogue about the issue. It was amazing to be a part and help facilitate a conversation like that on campus.

How did you get involved in the HST program?

It was my sophomore year and I had kind of fallen into a funk. I felt out of place at the university and felt like something was missing from my experience. So I decided to attend the student org fair my and that’s when I was introduced to the Hawkeye Service Team. My family had always raised me with the belief of serving others and giving back as much as you receive and HST appealed to that aspect of my life. So I decided to apply for the Alternative Spring Break program and absolutely fell in love my experience.

How has your participation with Hawkeye Service Teams impacted your future goals?

After my trip, I declared my certificate in Fundraising & Philanthropy Communication. During my first experience with HST I was able to see the amazing and truly incredible hard work nonprofits do behind the scenes. I was moved by the dedication these individuals had for their causes and service despite the lack of resources, funding, and staff available to them. I hadn’t experienced that type of selfless commitment to a community before. During my first Alternative Spring Break trip I felt like I belonged. For the first time in a while I felt like I was doing something meaningful with purpose and at that moment it clicked. This is what I want to do, this is what I needed to do. Coming into college I had these big ideas about being a lawyer or a journalist. However, after my trip those dreams manifested into something else, a reality that helped me realize my passion. Hawkeye Service Team influenced my decision to want to pursue a career in Nonprofit. I want to help support community based organizations, especially centered around youth education and development. HST allowed me see the importance of active citizen and how I can use my career, my education, my experience, my perspective to up lift others.

Why should others get involved with this program?

There are so many reasons why people should join Hawkeye Service Team. I’m the promotions exec so I can spend all day talking about them. I think when it boils down to it what makes HST so special is its ability to provide a person with the knowledge, insight, perspective taking, and the ability to foster community development and partnership not only through service but advocacy and even simple dialogue. We aren’t promising life changing experiences in a week, we aren’t saying that we are going to change the world over spring break or even solve these major instances of inequity and injustice. But what we are doing is laying a foundation, providing a helping hand, allowing space for growth. Others should get involved in Hawkeye Service Team if they want to serve, if they want engage with a larger community, if they want to learn and explore social justice. It’s not a matter of why but more so a reason as why not?