By Chamberlain Zulauf
Donovan Hill is a name that many people know on campus. He is the kind of person who can warm up to new friends easily and cares about his community. Coming from Newark, Delaware, Donovan has a major in political science and a minor in communication studies.
Realizing he wanted to come to Roanoke is a similar story to what most people would say- “There was a career college fair at a nearby University and I talked to Courtney Penn, who is an amazing person and got me to come down to Salem for a visit. I fell in love with the campus, it’s such a natural feel.”
While Donovan likes to keep old traditions alive, he has no issue with change either.
“I remember coming to Roanoke thinking I would be a pol-sci/economics major. After one economics class I was like ‘nope!’. I had to shift my life around after that. I stuck with Political Science and started working as a Peer Educator, doing good work similar to what nonprofits do. Without that job opportunity I never would have figured out that that is a work environment I want to be in after I graduate. So, big thanks to Roanoke College for that!” said Donovan.
Donovan really is a familiar face, “I do quite a lot on campus” he says.
He has been an RA since his sophomore year, is in the honors program and is a member of ODK, an honor society. Most notably, both for the RC community and himself, Donovan works as a Peer Educator.
“In the Peer Education roll we talk about safe sex, drinking practices and mental health. I have the pleasure of being a lead Peer Educator. I identify closely with that job; it’s been life changing for me,” said Donovan.
Donovan helped run the “Take Back the Night” event last week for sexual assault awareness. The event raised over $700 for an involved non-profit.”
Some advice this issue’s quintessential Maroon has for underclassman is to not:
“Take for granted those ‘transferable skills’ like knowing how to work with a team, presenting and being personable. Writing an email even, is a simple skill that you aren’t graded on- but those are skills people look for after college. Hone in and don’t underestimate those skills, they will help guide you through life,” said Donovan.
Being the Folk at ‘Noke for this Thanksgiving themed issue is perfect for Donovan; who’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving… tied with Christmas.
“I love being with my family. Growing up, Thanksgiving was always at my house. It’s a huge staple in my family for my mom to throw down in the kitchen. A lot of my cooking skills come from helping her in the kitchen,” said Donovan.
Speaking of being with family, Donovan is very glad to be back in class on a full campus.
“Getting sent home two years ago was rough. Everyone needed a break though, so it was a blessing in disguise. I even took last fall semester off to let Roanoke get used to online learning.”
Dance Crews are a family and tradition that Donovan likes to keep alive.
“My primary dance style is Hip-Hop/Animation. I got started dancing about eight years ago. I just happened to be working stage-tec for my High School’s talent show. I was interested watching a dance crew practicing. They were like ‘well hey kid, come join us!’ As a sophomore, seeing juniors and seniors reach out to me was amazing. Next thing I knew I was coming to their practices,” said Donovan.
From there Donovan became fully integrated into that Dance Crew and a year later he became the Crew’s Caption. Even to this day he and some core members link up when they’re back home, “We have such a passion for it we want to keep it going after graduating,” said Donovan.
“I post myself dancing on Instagram to track my progress- when I first started out, I was really cringy and had no rhythm… I’m big into the underground dance scene. You picture people dancing in abandoned warehouses and empty parking lots. I did that kind of stuff. A part of that culture is that you have a dance name- a presence. When I first started out my name was assigned to me by my mentor. The name I was given at first was Droid. In a dance crew you must earn your way up which is when you can choose your own name. It took a year and a half to get to that point but now I’m known as Kaiju because I’m a monster on the dance floor,” said Donovan.
He has come a long way since first starting to find his rhythm. He’s been in dance battles/circles with prominent members of the community like Fik-shun, Phoenix from the Elektrobotz and Sam Caudle. He’s also been in classes with the likes of Wildabeest Adams and Janelle Ginestra.
Donovan- I mean Kaiju’s- favorite Roanoke memory is more than his Instagram feed.
“My freshman year I was with my good friend Carly Shepacarter while I was going through a stressful night. She was like ‘let’s go for a walk’ around the outdoor track. We ended up laying on the infield looking at the stars and talking about anything. That night I saw my first shooting star. It sounds so Disney, but it made me feel like everything would be ok,” said Donovan.
Now, getting ready to graduate, Donovan is “in the broad camp.” And “Definitely want[s] to do something in the nonprofit sector.” He plans to stay in the Salem area as there are a lot of non-profit opportunities in the valley.
“Maybe I’ll hold office one day, that’s the dream. Maybe not president although my friends do joke about that,” said Donovan.