Fisher students creating tie blankets during Fisher Impact Day 2023

Each Veterans Day, Fisher students, faculty and staff unite as a college community for a day of service to help local nonprofits fulfill mission-critical needs. This year was no exception with nearly 800 volunteers coming together during Fisher Impact Day to create blankets for foster children, cancer and hospice patients, homeless people and victims of family violence.

“I am overwhelmed by the spirit of service that connects our students, faculty and staff through this event. It’s an annual reminder to our community of Business Buckeyes that our future as leaders must be a holistic one — where doing well personally and professionally also means doing good for others,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher.

This year’s efforts yielded 1,300 tie blankets that will be donated to My Very Own Blanket, The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, The Center for Family Safety and Healing, Blankets for the Homeless, Ohio’s Hospice and The Imani Center.

Fisher Impact Day 2023

“As a first-year student, I participated in Fisher Impact Day and made blankets for children in foster care and it made me realize how something as simple as a blanket could be so meaningful for children going through tough situations,” said Anna Hawkins, a third-year accounting student and co-director of the event.

“Fisher Impact Day truly is an amazing opportunity for Fisher students to come together and help the local community,” said Luke Thornton, a third-year finance student and co-director of the event. “I joined the FID planning committee because I wanted to help make a difference in Columbus.”

In choosing what cause to adopt, this year’s Fisher Impact Day committee incorporated feedback from the 2022 event and streamlined their efforts to focus on one project that would have the broadest impact. As co-directors, Hawkins and Thornton discovered the enormous amount of planning that goes into hosting a large-scale event and making sure it runs smoothly.

Fisher Impact Day Co-Director Anna Hawkins, Dean Anil Makhija and Fisher Impact Day Co-Director Luke Thornton
Fisher Impact Day Co-Directors Anna Hawkins and Luke Thornton with Dean Anil Makhija

“We began planning the event at the beginning of spring semester, interviewing and choosing committee members and hosting meetings to discuss this year’s plan of action,” Thornton said. “Once we decided to create the blankets, it gave us the ability to hit the ground running at the beginning of this semester.”

They also realized that it takes more time and strategic details to organize and host more than 760 students.

“Without being behind the scenes, it is hard to know the logistics behind everything. There are so many aspects to think about — rooms, donations, site leaders, registration, speeches, day of planning — to ensure the day runs smoothly,” said Hawkins. “Thankfully, Luke and I had a great planning committee that helped make it a success.”

They met weekly with committee members to create an event plan, assign site-leaders, reserve rooms, gather supplies, decide how to publicize the event, make volunteer assignments and address other challenges.

They also faced the daunting task of finding a vendor for so many blankets. My Very Own Blanket, a longtime partner at Fisher Impact Day, provided supplies for the blankets being donated to them. Hawkins and Thornton researched, sourced and negotiated the rest of the materials. They approached store and district managers of JOANN Fabrics to not only find the additional materials for the remainder of the blankets, but to negotiate a discount on the purchase.

“We had to find a way to get a total of 1,300 blankets, which was quite difficult,” Hawkins said. “JOANN Fabrics was extremely generous. Not only did they provide us a discount, they were also able to cut the blankets to the desired size and have them ready for us in time.”

Reflecting on the event, both co-directors agree that their leadership, delegation, event planning, relationship building and communication skills have improved making them more prepared to become a holistic future leader in the business world.

“As college students sometimes it's hard to think about charitable contributions, but when you think about it, giving your time is one of the greatest and biggest things you can give to an organization,” Thornton said.

“Fisher Impact Day truly is an amazing opportunity for Fisher students to come together and help the local community.”

Luke ThorntonFinance student and co-director of Fisher Impact Day