Fisher Impact Day

Fisher is burgeoning with emerging leaders, many of whom recently worked to make the college’s day of service into something truly exceptional.

C.J. Stover and Brady Ellis were among those students who helped shape Fisher Impact Day, an event in which more than 880 members of the Fisher community dispersed across campus and throughout central Ohio to serve various organizations.

Stover, CJ
C.J. Stover

Stover oversaw a healthy portion of the day’s logistics, such as pinning down locations and managing the ensuing relationships with venue representatives. He ultimately oversaw several sites, including The Pack Shack at RPAC, where 100 students and faculty members packaged 30,000 meals in two hours. The food was then sent off to Mid-Ohio Foodbank, where it will help feed the community’s hungriest members.

Before all those volunteers stepped through the doors, the third-year logistics management major worked behind the scenes unloading pallets, processing materials, and completing a walkthrough of the site to firmly define every detail.

“I made sure there were as little questions as possible,” Stover said.

By the time the other volunteers poured in, he had already jetted away to another site.

The ultimate effects of his contributions weren’t lost on him.

“I felt the impact that someone gets to eat tonight and the opportunity that brings,” he said. “Perhaps a hungry student can then successfully take a test.,”

Stover serves as president of FisherCares, the college’s only undergraduate service-based student organization. In that role, he’s accustomed to overseeing two to three other leaders. But his Impact Day experience, supervising 40 other site leaders, opened his eyes to a different level of dynamics when it comes to leadership roles.

“You have to learn how to blend different leadership styles and how to work with other people who are used to holding the reins,” he said. “The significance of the day helped leaders blend together well. “You might have 10 people who are achievement-oriented and have to figure out how to marry that.”

Recognizing and blending leadership styles are key skills Stover and Ellis have cultivated as part of Fisher’s Leadership Initiative. The initiative provides unique opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students at Fisher to challenge themselves to apply their leadership in practical settings. Stover has taken a course in the Dean’s Leadership Academy, offered through the Initiative. Ellis was part of a team of students who provided the Initiative feedback on leadership experiences.

Beyond FisherCares, Stover also serves as an intern at the university’s Criminal Justice Research Center, works as a teaching assistant for a business analytics class, and sits on the student campaign board for Thank a Donor Day. On that university-wide board, which helps students understand and appreciate the generosity of donors, he is the sole Fisher student representative.

His pull toward leadership was inspired by his grandparents. Born around the time of the Great Depression, they didn’t have much. But that didn’t preclude them from assisting others in need. This included cooking for three families in the neighborhood who otherwise might have gone hungry.

“I learned about the impact of service through them,” Stover said. “They didn’t have two pennies to rub together, but they all banded together just to survive.”

His grandparents passed those values down the line, and they were ultimately inherited by Stover. He’s used them to mold his Fisher Impact Day experience and everyone it has aided.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “It was a lot of work. But looking back, being part of it was pretty amazing.”

Ellis, Brady
Brady Ellis (left)

Ellis was another important organizer for the day, responsible for event-wide logistics and recruitment of other student volunteers. He took Stover’s site information and converted it into a format that allowed students to register. Furthermore, he created a system for students to “swipe in” the morning of the event.

The second-year accounting major currently sits on the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC), serving as vice president of community engagement. The UBC works on behalf of both individuals and student organizations to advance student life at Fisher.

Ellis endeavors to make his student experience include projects outside the classroom.

“My hope in everything I do is helping students interact with faculty and staff in a way that complements classroom lectures or office hours,” he said. “That’s what Fisher Impact Day was for me: an amazing opportunity for students to engage with faculty and staff, along with other students, and the greater Columbus community.”

He was fascinated with how the experience tied in with his coursework. His professors have spoken about compromise, good communications, and balancing opinions. He would often think of these classroom discussions and apply them to his Impact Day leadership efforts. These lessons were bearing fruit in his life outside of Fisher.

Ellis, who is also a Young Life leader and a volunteer at Bexley High School, offered his underlying philosophy.

“Impact is about people more than titles or things,” he said. “It’s about directly being able to help and encourage other people.

“I’m so thankful for the students who volunteered as site leaders and volunteered to show up at 7 a.m. and jump in. It made it worthwhile for the other students.”