A group of students from Fisher Impact Day posing outside

Jenny Jung wasn’t about to let anything get in the way of Fisher College of Business honoring an annual commitment to community service. Her leadership and collaboration with others helped make sure things went forward — one way or another. 

Typically held on Veterans Day, Fisher Impact Day brings together members of the college community to assist local nonprofits on a single day of service. A monumental undertaking, the event annually draws upward of 1,000 students, faculty and staff members who volunteer on and off campus. 

But 2020 would have to be different.

“Fisher Impact Day is supposed to be the annual event where Fisher gives back to our community, and it was important that we still upheld that responsibility, even if we couldn't do it all together, in-person,” said Jung, who served as the event’s student director.

Jenny Jung
Jenny Jung

She, along with the rest of the planning committee, wanted to maintain the memorable aspects of the event while adapting it to be safe for participants and organizations. With the support of faculty and staff advisors, organizers constructed a reimagined event. Instead of 1,000 members of the Fisher community gathering together throughout various locations throughout the city, the team promoted a week of service, where students could volunteer virtually or in-person at a nonprofit of their choice, no matter where they were in the U.S. or abroad.

“Students could pick where, how, who and when to give,” Jung said. “This was a huge development because in previous years we would only have eight to 10 nonprofits available, and participation had to occur the morning of Veterans Day. This time constriction restricted many students from participating — but moving it to virtual allowed more students to join that usually wouldn't have been able to.”

Jung, who is pursuing a double major in business and pre-law, and her committee wanted to replicate the meaningful experiences that previous Impact Days had provided for so many students, faculty and staff. She looked back at her own past involvement in the event fondly.

Students volunteering at a food pantry
As part of Fisher Impact Day, students volunteered their time and resources virtually and in-person to nonprofit organizations, including food pantries.

“I ended up having a good time meeting new people and giving back to my new Columbus community,” she said.  “With the virtual component, we wanted to make the experience as similar to the in-person event as possible.”

And while 2020 was certainly different, it was successful. In all, hundreds of students donated time, money or goods to local organizations. Fisher community members logged more than 102 volunteer hours and donated nearly $3,000 to more than 140 organizations, including Buckeye Food Alliance, Pets Without Parents, Crisis Text Hotline and Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

The weeklong service concluded with a virtual closing event on Veterans Day, in which student participants learned more about the impact of their service, received a congratulatory message from Dean Anil Makhija and a participated in a panel discussion with nonprofit leaders from the Miracle Garden, My Very Own Blanket and Buckeye Food Alliance. The leaders spoke about the impact that volunteers from Fisher had on their organizations.

“It was great to see so many people working together to overcome the challenges of the pandemic,” said Leigh Anne Ward, executive director of The Miracle Garden, which creates opportunities for healthy food access, beautification and economic development in the Linden neighborhood of Columbus

“I think it was a great opportunity for us to get to share a little bit about what we do with new students who haven’t had the opportunity to volunteer like students in the past, and we were pleased to hear that we are one of the favorite volunteer sites for the students because we enjoy having them as well!”