Student Stories Series – JD Van Alstyne

There are so many students who live and breathe the Nourish movement. These individuals devote themselves to not only their chapters and Nourish experience, but also to living a life helping others and changing our world. Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be highlighting some of our incredible students!

When JD Van Alstyne started his freshman year at the University of Oregon, he was looking for an escape from a life of conformity. With the pressure to get good grades, secure an internship and find a job slowly mounting, JD looked for escape in the wrong places, making mistakes that hurt both him and his family. In an attempt to get back on track, he sought fulfillment by diving into school and work. By his junior year, he was taking 21 credit hours each term and working two jobs. Still, he felt isolated and longed for an opportunity to make an actual impact on the world.


Through Google searches and Internet forums, JD learned about Nourish. He convinced two of his roommates to apply as chapter co-founders and was soon granted an interview. After his interview, JD attended Summer Institute, Nourish’s annual conference for chapter founders. The experience was “inspiring and life-changing,” and he left feeling confident and excited about bringing Nourish to the students of Oregon.

However, he soon found that getting people involved is much easier said than done. For the first term, the only people interested in Nourish were JD’s friends who he had dragged to the meetings. Despite pitching the chapter to numerous classes, he often found himself hosting interest meetings where nobody showed up. At the end of the first term, his chapter had raised just $100 from an Ugly Christmas Sweater sale, far from JD’s $3,000 goal.


Determined to make his chapter work, JD stepped up his recruitment efforts. He emailed and met with the business, non-profit management and international studies department heads to pitch Nourish as a hands-on learning opportunity for students. His efforts paid off; at the next meeting, there were 20 new and interested students. For the February Giving Challenge, JD challenged his chapter to reach their $3,000 goal from that fundraiser alone. He and his fellow chapter members made phone calls, sent emails and texts, and met with people in-person.

Their tactics worked, and by the end of February, the Oregon Chapter had met its goal.

For JD, the key to running a successful Nourish chapter is hard work and sacrifice. College students are all busy and consumed with thoughts of grades and internships, meaning recruitment takes time, effort and commitment. JD firmly believes that those determined to do the work to make a difference can find the same happiness and fulfillment that he did.



JD now works as the Ventures Coordinator here at NINO! He’s committed to helping students make a difference within their own lives and the lives of others. Through his work with chapters around the country, he mentors students and spreads what the movement is truly about.


Keep it up, JD! 



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