Rowley named Gift of Life ambassador


“I remember fundraising for the first time for the tsunami victims in third grade,” said Ellie Rowley, junior political-science and peace and conflict studies major.

Rowley’s passion for fundraising started at a young age. She recently created and submitted a video to a contest for the Gift of Life, an organization that helps adults and children find bone marrow transplant donors. The video displayed her Butler University pride and passion for helping those suffering from blood cancer and disorders. She was selected among 10,000 applicants to represent Butler and Indiana through an internship.

She works to raise awareness and establish a blood cancer and disorders organization on campus.

“I’m waiting for SGA to look over my constitution and decide if they want me to be an organization or not,” Rowley said.

She will continue to hold bone-marrow swabbing drives outside of Atherton Union and Starbucks all year while she waits for SGA’s approval.

Rowley said she feels having this organization at Butler will benefit everyone.

“This is a way for me to get to know Butler in a better sense,” Rowley said. “But also Butler gets to know the cause for the Gift of Life. It’s a learning experience for both sides.”

She hosted a drive for Campus of World Marrow Donor Day on Sept. 16. outside of Atherton. As students walked by her table, she stopped them and ask if they had 60 seconds to save a life.

“It was so successful,” Rowley said. “I had 100 swabs, and I ran out of them. It was the best experience for a first drive.”

The Butler environment played a role in her ability to spread the word about her work.

“Something that Butler instills in me is a sense of community, where I am comfortable to talk to someone who I haven’t spoken to and ask them if they have heard of the Gift of Life,” Rowley said.

She also went to the Sigma Chi fraternity and swabbed all of the men there. She trained them how to swab people’s mouths, so now they can help at her table.

“It was a great experience when Ellie came into our fraternity house to teach us how to swab,” risk management major Zack Davidoff said. “She was patient with all the guys and explained how swabbing can help save lives.”

Rowley took a class at the end of her sophomore year about activism. The class focused on motivating students to go out and make a change.

“I’ve always wanted to be the change you see in the world,” Rowley said.

The activism course not only inspired her, but also prepared her to be a leader.

“The main thing about activism is to equip people with the tools to be able to go out and be effective advocates for whatever it might be, and to help organize people to gain their support around a particular issue,” associate professor of political science Craig Auchter said.

Rowley was increasingly inspired to make a change after taking this class and approached her professor about how she could get involved. Auchter encouraged her to start searching the internet for internships.

“He gave me that push,” Rowley said.

Rowley said she believes blood cancer and disorders affects everyone, not just the people diagnosed.

“I’m a really global thinker,” she said. “I like to think that it’s not me, it’s not Butler, it’s not Indiana, it’s not even the United States. This is a human problem. This is something that affects every human regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and beliefs.”