Akash Khanna, BS’19, didn’t start his college career focused on civic engagement. He was a biology major, focused solely on being a good student. But during a field day his freshman year, the team captain for his group happened to also be a leader for Jagathon: IUPUI’s Dance Marathon for Riley Children’s Hospital. That introduction changed everything.
Akash became involved in Jagathon and took a leadership position in marketing. He enjoyed it, and after some consideration, he changed his major to marketing at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.
“The big change was a challenge but worth it,” he said.
He stayed involved in Jagathon throughout his college career. For Jagathon 2019, Akash served as the v ice president of external relations. He oversaw the directors of campus outreach, community engagement, high school dance marathons, marketing, and public relations. The Jagathon 2019 campaign was called Power of Purpose, which allowed the participants, committee, and supporters to reflect on why they joined this movement, and why they rise up for the kids. A moment that stands out to Akash is the candlelight ceremony.
“It is a very powerful and moving portion of the night where we all have a moment of silence, remembering the kids who did not survive their fight,” he reflected.
“We remember why we need to increase the number of miracles we make every year. Candles are lit and we are surrounded by darkness, so people have the opportunity to reflect on the reason for the gathering,” he shared in a recent blog for the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI.
Akash’s involvement also includes Delta Sigma Pi, which he joined to further his network and engagement activities. The fraternity volunteers with several organizations including Ronald McDonald House and Gleaners Food Bank. This spring, he was able to go on the London study abroad trip as well, which helped him connect with Kelley peers, and learn about the UK business culture.
Reflecting on how his school work has impacted his civic activity Akash shared, “The best thing about Kelley Indy is that we are able to learn a theory, practice or principle and apply it right away.”
For Akash, that mentality started with marketing and has included other leadership skills, time and task management, and software programs that are useful both in and outside of the classroom.
In the future, Akash plans on serving the community by donating his time and effort to organizations that move him and by giving back to the programs at IUPUI that have helped build his future.
When it comes to choosing his career, Akash said, “I will be looking at how the company gives back.”
As for himself, Akash plans to give back to IUPUI by supporting Jagathon as an alumni and also stay connected in the community as an alumnus for Delta Sigma Pi.
When asked what other advice he has for students, Akash shared that it is important to get and stay involved.
“Network! Every organization on campus has a perk; your job is just finding the right fit,” added Akash. “Being involved is an important part of your college career. If I didn’t get involved, I
would’ve been getting a degree in something I was not passionate about. Getting involved changed my career.”
The students received their medallions at the Bringle and Hatcher Civic Engagement Showcase on Tuesday, April 9. The event was held in the lower level of the IUPUI Campus Center. The awards portion highlighted faculty, staff and community partners who exemplify IUPUI’s commitment to deepen community engagement.
Posted by: Sara Griffin, firstname.lastname@example.org