Note: This post is written by ASU Business Senior, Dan DiLizia. Dan is one of five interns that elected to do their senior project with Gangplank. Check out his first post, ‘The American Dream with a Collaborative Twist’.
I had always been one of those people who wanted to get more involved in their community, but never found the appropriate avenue to do so. This academic semester, I have been fortunate to undertake a number of community service initiatives in the Phoenix metro area. One of these experiences has been with Gangplank. Although initially skeptical of the surroundings, my time within the creative and collaborative walls of Gangplank has provided me with a number of motivations and inspirations.
First, I must concede that I did not seek out Gangplank in hopes of increasing community involvement. Rather, as part of a Service Learning course at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, it was a requirement to spend twenty-five hours at a nonprofit of our team’s choice. I was excited to begin the course in order to be “forced” to fulfill my desire about becoming engaged in community service. I thought I would be volunteering at a children’s hospital or center for underprivileged youth- not a collaborative workspace. Still, I believed it could be an interesting opportunity, but ended up with a whole lot more.
Volunteering at Gangplank has rekindled a dream I once had. Growing up as an underprivileged youth on the east coast, I always wanted to open a home for less fortunate children so they would not fall victim to their surroundings. I also wanted this center to be a nonprofit organization, so there was no financial excuse not to come. Gangplank has revitalized that dream for me. In being involved with the future goals and participating in events at Gangplank, I have developed an emotional connection of sorts and want to continue the message of collaboration (a notion I never imagined I could vouch for).
Watching the different companies peacefully work side by side is an amazing sight to see. It’s truly a world within a world, with an increasingly loud message. Gangplank is not waiting for an ear to tell their message to; instead they’re making it impossible to tune out. As I continue into my future, I fully expect to use a blueprint similar to Gangplank to create my nonprofit startup.
Currently, I am applying to law school and having to write tons of essays and personal statements. Many of these writings ask for experience in community service and interesting academic stories. Gangplank perfectly fits both categories, and I have been extremely proud to write about my time here in a number of these essays. I have written about how it has been an incredible personal learning experience and eye-opener to another way to conduct business.
I recently finished an application essay that asked my feelings about a collaborative learning and working environment (because this particular law school values that highly). As you can imagine, I referenced Gangplank extensively in communicating my desire to be submerged into such a world. Gangplank has been a fountain of inspiration to write about, and again I am very grateful for all that this opportunity has taught me about service and myself.
Finally, I urge anyone who reads this post to spread the word of service. I hope it can inspire at least one person to inquire about volunteering their time at Gangplank. Even if a daily activity happens to be building a chair, there is room to learn by practice and observation. That was the recipe for success to turn a one-time Gangplank skeptic like myself into a firm believer and supporter of the organizational message.