“It’s definitely one of the reasons I came here,” she said. “There are so many opportunities. There’s something for everyone.”
After high school, Morgan said she wasn’t feeling a call to attend college. Instead, she raised enough money to join a group with Adventures in Mission (a Christian organization that coordinates short-term mission trips), and traveled to Nicaragua with 16 other Americans and Canadians. She spent nine months living in a barrio, cooking and serving meals and picking up trash, which ultimately led to the paving of the street. “The idea of trash there is so much different than here,” she said.
After her mission trip, she returned home to Marion, Iowa, and helped with the 2008 flood cleanup efforts in nearby Cedar Rapids, gutting what was left of the houses along the river.
Morgan majored in Spanish and international relations and keeps community service central to her daily life. As the philanthropy chair of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, Morgan coordinated writing letters to troops overseas. She’s been involved with Meals from the Heartland and regularly hops on Simpson’s Religious Life van to Des Moines to feed the homeless or serve meals and visit residents at the Catholic Worker House.
For her demonstrated commitment to service, Morgan obtained a United Methodist Service to the Community Grant. She’s required to do eight hours of community service per week in exchange for up to $15,000 of aid per year.
In addition to her regular service hours, Morgan is the student leader of Simpson’s Up ‘til Dawn event, which raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She uses entertainment like games and bounce houses to draw about 150 students to Hopper Gym to sign fundraising letters that are mailed to their friends and family. Students raised $20,000 last year; Simpson has participated in the event since 2006, raising more than $120,000 since.
As a sophomore, Morgan was invited to attend St. Jude’s hospital in Memphis, Tenn., for the Collegiate Leadership
Seminar, which brings together more than 800 student leaders from 250 colleges and universities to help them plan Up ‘til Dawn events on their campuses.
“It was so motivating,” she said. “I fell in love with their cause and their purpose.”