Joshy Thomas is a 21-year-old from Morton Grove, IL majoring in accounting. He said farewell to college at ISU’s winter commencement. Joshy became a brother of our fraternity in the Spring of 2016 and has kept busy during his time in college. Some of his highlights include being one of the founding members of the Christian Business Leaders as a freshman and going on two service trips to the south through Alternative Breaks. We asked Joshy a few questions regarding his involvement over the years.
What is the Christian Business Leaders?
Joshy: Christian Business Leaders (CBL) combines business and religious aspects together to provide a place for students to grow professionally and spiritually. Despite its name it is open to students of any major or religious affiliation.
What were some struggles and challenges you faced starting a new club and how did you go about that?
Joshy: When taking on a leadership positions in an already established club you have a foundation of members and structure to work with. We had no luxury when we started. There were definitely some tough times in the beginning when we really struggled retaining members and I worried about the future of CBL. However, if there’s one thing I want to emphasize, it is being a part of any club is a team effort. Having a strong executive team made going to the drawing board and coming up with new ideas, fixing our marketing efforts, and finding a vision for the organization made that much easier. CBL has won ”Student Organization of the Year” both of the years it has been on campus and has no plans of slowing down.
What is Alternative Break at Illinois State?
Joshy: Alternative Breaks is a volunteer organization that provides opportunities to help out with the community during spring, summer and winter breaks. It’s great way for students to travel as well as make a difference.
What are some highlights of the trips you went on?
Joshy: I went to Memphis, TN along with about 40 other people to clean up the Mississippi River. In just a week of our time we eliminated over 20,000 pounds of garbage, ranging from old tires to used needles. Kind of crazy to think much of the Midwest gets their drinking water from here.
This past year I was a trip leader helping lead a service trip to Atlanta, GA. We got to work with the WINGS program which assists at risk youth, and also worked with a community center for LGBTQ and recovering addicts. It was tough seeing kids already being deemed hopeless at such young ages. State officials would take data from elementary school enrollment to predict how big prisons needed to be for the future. One is not able to change a kid’s life in just a week, however, it is possible to change a young adult’s perception on volunteering. The most rewarding part is definitely seeing fellow peers want to be more involved in their community going forward after just a week trip.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Joshy: I will be moving to the Naperville area to work a 3-year Finance & Accounting rotational program with Navistar (FALD). One of the rotations is going to be out-of-state and being able to leave Illinois for a while has always been one of my dreams!