To say that 2018 alumna and first-year grad student Ali Emswiller has made a difference at IUPUI is a huge understatement. To say that she is an incredible inspiration to fellow students, faculty, and staff more accurately captures the remarkable impact she has on others, including the patients and their families at Riley Hospital for Children as a leader of Jagathon: IUPUI's Dance Marathon.
In 2018, while Ali was president, Jagathon raised $501,371 for the kids, the third consecutive year that the university's largest student-run philanthropic organization set a new fundraising record. The impact that Jagathon has had on Emswiller is equally profound.
"It is truly because of Jagathon that I am pursuing a Masters of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a career in philanthropic fundraising. Jagathon has helped me to realize my true passion and talents for philanthropy, and I intend to continue my involvement on campus as long as I can," said Emswiller, who now serves as Vice President of Finance for Jagathon.
In 2015, Emswiller attended Jagathon as a freshman who was trying to find her way as a new college student. By the end of the marathon, she was hooked. She joined the committee the following week and, a few months later, she assumed the role of director of special events on the executive board.
"Jagathon has experienced unprecedented growth during Ali's tenure. The program will raise about six times more in 2019 than it did in 2015, and no one has been more instrumental in this growth than Ali. She is the only student in the program's 18-year history to serve four years on the executive board. During that time, she has done so much to develop Jagathon into a nationally relevant program and among the fastest growing student-led philanthropies in the country. It is personally fulfilling knowing that, as such an incredibly talented and hard-working individual, Ali is dedicated to improving her community," said Pete Hunter, Director of Development at IUPUI for the Indiana University Foundation.
Not only did the 2018 dance marathon break fundraising records, it also included the largest student registration in the event's history with 1,362 participants. Part of the IUPUI Student Foundation, Jagathon has received multiple awards from the Children's Miracle Network, including the Partnership Award and the Organization Management Award in 2018, and the 2017 Miracle Maker Award.
"I am deeply inspired by the passion that IUPUI has for philanthropy, particularly for Riley Hospital for Children since it is located on our very own campus. The experience of being surrounded by people who work year-round to give so much of themselves to support others keeps me going. My involvement with Jagathon has given me so much pride in my campus that I know I will carry with me forever," said Emswiller.