LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2017) — Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie — a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, University of Kentucky junior Alex Francke!
Meet Alex Francke, a junior business management major and international business minor from right here in Lexington, Kentucky. Francke is busy running her own nonprofit, fulfilling leadership roles in numerous organizations around campus and actively volunteering her time at the Ronald McDonald house, as well as other charities. She shares her experiences with us and talks about how she made the University of Kentucky her home in her "see blue." #selfie!
UKNow: What year are you and what is your major?
Alex Francke: I will be a junior, and I am business management and an international business minor.
UK: Why'd you decide to come to UK?
AF: I decided to come here because it had everything I was looking for in a university. It wasn't my first choice right away because it was in my own backyard. I had to get over the idea of staying in the same town that I grew up in. Both my parents went to UK and they got me to take a tour. Once I did that, I loved campus and it made me really happy to be surrounded by beautiful greenery and campus buildings. I also loved the people and the campus community.
UK: What are some of your current involvements on and off campus?
AF: Well, I'm in an honors pathway through Gatton and a member of the Honors College. I was on the DanceBlue morale committee this past year and I was in an M Group with Christian Student Fellowship. I am an Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) and I held homecoming chair last year. Last spring break, I went on an Alternative Service Break trip; it was one of the best trips I have ever taken. I volunteered at Kentucky Refugee Ministries and the Ronald McDonald house. I also run a nonprofit called Adopt An Art. This summer, I am volunteering at "see blue." U giving presentations and I'm also going abroad in the upcoming fall semester!
UK: Out of all these involvements, what is one that's closest to your heart?
AF: I don’t want to be cliché and say DanceBlue, but it's part of the reason that I came to UK. I started a minimarathon at my high school, Lafayette. Learning the logistics of DanceBlue and meeting the kids has given me a deeper appreciation for what this campus does as a whole for DanceBlue. I have gotten really close to families that I have met through DanceBlue and I go and see them whenever I can; I go to their dance recitals and school activities, and it has given me such a passion for kids who are fighting a disease they should never have to.
UK: What do you plan to do with your business management degree?
AF: I want to work with a social enterprise, which is a business that functions as any other business, but engrained in their core mission is to solve a social issue, like TOMS shoes. They want to provide for other people. I want to do well by doing good.
UK: Has there been a teacher or staff member at UK that has made a positive impact on your time here?
AF: The program director for the honor pathway has really supported me. Her name is Chelsea Brislin. She has helped me go in the direction that I want to go. I started as a Chinese language minor, but I didn't really want to do that. I wasn't happy with it and I didn't enjoy it at all. She was like, you know, a foreign language is great, but it's not something you have to do if it's not what you like. I run a nonprofit and she's helping me integrate my major into that.
UK: Tell me a little about this nonprofit that you started!
AF: I started Adopt An Art in 2013. We work with schools that don't have arts programs to give their students free dance, drama, visual art and music after school. We fill the gap to help students stay enriched in the curriculum they might have missed out on when they are in elementary school if they couldn't afford it. I love those kids. They are incredible. It's really great to give them what I had and what made me into the person that I am.
UK: What was the first job you ever had?
AF: I worked for the Opera House downtown … and I still work there! I have worked there since the beginning of my senior year of high school. I have seen a lot of shows at the Opera House!
UK: You've lived on campus the past two years. What has been your favorite part about that?
AF: Well, my first year, I lived in Johnson Hall and I loved being surrounded by people with the same classes as me because I was in the Honors LLP. We could always get together and work on stuff and go eat together at the Fresh Food Company. Our first semester, we all had three classes in a row and would be done by lunch. My roommate was the best person in the world. We got to share a room and it was great. My second year I lived in the ADPi house and I loved getting to grow close to some of the people I lived with.
UK: What is one of your fondest memories from freshman year?
AF: My Alternative Service Break. I went with a bunch of old and new friends. We ended up like a family. It was the first year ASB did a trip to Salinas, California. We got to see some beautiful places and beautiful people working with a population that was in need. It was an incredible experience to get to do alongside people from UK.
UK: Do you have a role model?
AF: My initial thought is my mom. It seems cookie cutter, but she is an amazing support system and she is always looking out for me. She's a woman business leader, and so she has worked incredibly hard in her company. She grew up in a poor town, and so she had to adjust to UK and Lexington. She inspires me to put forth my best effort and work hard at everything I do.
UK: When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?
AF: I love to nap. I think there is so much value in napping. I really like drawing and coloring. I was a Red Bull doodle art regional finalist for my doodles. I love making things and getting to be creative.
UK: How do you manage your time?
AF: I find that there is a triangle of sleep, school and social and you have to pick two every day and you have to prioritize. If you have more school work and you need to get sleep, you probably don't need to hang out with your friends. I try and use those three things to balance my activities going on. Sometimes work gets added in, but that's non-negotiable.
UK: Thinking back two years ago, was your first day of college as scary as you thought it'd be?
AF: Well, it doesn't have to be scary. Being from Lexington, I thought I knew everything about campus, but I was quickly proven wrong! I looked at my schedule on the first day of classes and I got lost looking for Kastle Hall. I saw someone I knew that was in my class walking the other way and I followed them. It was pride thing.
UK: Are there any classes that you have taken just for fun?
AF: Yeah, I try to take a class for fun every semester just to stay involved in what I’m passionate about. Last semester I took ballet. There was a mix of people that were fine arts majors, then there were people like me. It was a lot of fun. The semester before I took kickboxing. I try and always take a class that interests me so nothing becomes too monotonous.
UK: If you had a warning label, what would it say?
AF: "Incredibly short attention span." Not in a bad way though!
"see blue." #selfies will appear every other Tuesday on UKNow. Know a student leader we should feature? Contact Rebecca Stratton at email@example.com to nominate someone.