The passion to serve: Ball State's Alexis Thigpen gives back to the community

Senior sprinter Alexis Thigpen prepares to run the first leg of the 4x400 relay race at the IUPUI Invitational Jan. 27 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The 4x400 relay race team placed first overall in the invitational. Amadou Diallo, DN
Senior sprinter Alexis Thigpen prepares to run the first leg of the 4x400 relay race at the IUPUI Invitational Jan. 27 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The 4x400 relay race team placed first overall in the invitational. Amadou Diallo, DN

“It was always ingrained [in me] to have compassion towards others, and do for others what you would want them to do for you,” senior Alexis Thigpen said.

Compassion has always been an important emotion to Thigpen. As a child, Thigpen spent an abundance of her time with her mother, helping serve people in the community.

“I'm a little bit of an empath. I want to be able to help people and get them back on their feet,” Thigpen said. “Even if it’s just doing the little deeds that will make their day.I’m just really compassionate, something that the world really needs.”

Thigpen is a student-athlete on the Cardinal track and field team balancing the life of being a president, community service chairwoman and a role model to her peers.

Thigpen is a 4x400 meter relay All-Mid American Conference (MAC) honoree and four-time Academic All-MAC. She also runs the 400 and 600 meter dash. Outside of her academic and athletic work, Thigpen spends most of her time with her passion — helping others.

Growing up in a Christian home, Thigpen said her mother showed her what true kindness meant by random acts of kindness. Thigpen’s mother also brought her around anytime she went out into the community to serve, instilling in her the values that she has today.

“She always did these acts of service for people, she even took me to a homeless shelter to help feed the people living there,” Thigpen said. “All that she did made me the person that I am today. She was big on making sure everyone felt good.”

During her sophomore year, Thigpen was looking for an outlet to help fulfill her want to help people. In her search for an opportunity to serve the community, she found the National Association of Colored Women’s Club (NACWC). Founded in 1896, the NACWC is the first organization led by black women to uplift women, children and families. It also promotes the community through service, education and promoting racial harmony. 

Initially, she served as the secretary but now serves as president. In her position, Thigpen oversees the basic operations of the organization when it comes to building relationships, planning events and connecting with other organizations on campus.

“She’s definitely very reliable. I help her out, she helps me out,” NACWC Vice President Mikayla Shaffer said. “We make each other laugh. She’s such a great person and an amazing president.”

Shaffer said Thigpen has taken on a role model position with NACWC, teaching her the ins and outs of running the organization.

“She’s definitely prepared me by encouraging me to problem solve, reach out to other chapters or give out information,” Shaffer said. “By trusting me to be her voice and speak on behalf of her, she’s definitely prepared me for next semester when she’s no longer here.”

Thigpen is also a part of another service-based organization, the Delta Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. serving as the community service co-chair. Similar to her first organization, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority also has a large focus on serving people in need in the Black community.

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Senior sprinter Alexis Thigpen sprints down the track during a practice Feb. 7 at the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Thigpen competed in five meets for the 2023 outdoor track and field season. Mya Cataline DN

In her role as community service co-chair, Thigpen helps plan out community service events for her sorority. Her presence has not only impacted and helped the community, but it has had a long-lasting positive effect on her peers.

“Alexis is my sister. Our relationship has grown so much, she’s always positive in everything that she does, she uplifts me,” co-chair Taylor Coleman said.

Sisterhood is extremely important to Thigpen. She has become a member who has encouraged her sisters through her actions of kindness and her composure.

“She is just a great listener and a communicator as well,” Coleman said. “One day when you’re feeling, down you’re able to talk to her. She’s always in the greatest, loveliest mood, which easily uplifts you. You can just feel her when she walks in the room.”

As a member of these two historically Black organizations, Thigpen is able to have that positive effect on the people around her and continue to build in the community. She said she expresses her love of helping people through community service and the relationships she’s built with the people around her.

“I just admire what my sister does for the community,” Coleman said. “She carries herself so effortlessly and gracefully — you don’t see her complaining. She gets up at six o’clock in the morning to go to workouts, but she still makes time to prioritize her sisters’ and her other organizations.”

Thigpen has been able to serve the community by working with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Cardinal Kitchen, the Muncie Mission and the Young Women’s Christian Association. Her sorority also holds many events catered to the students at Ball State University, whether it be for educational or entertainment purposes.

The challenge of balancing life as a student athlete, while also being heavily involved around campus and in the community, can be overwhelming.

“It’s quite a bit, and sometimes you get frustrated. And that’s normal,” Thigpen said.

But she’s not alone when facing this challenge. The people she works alongside are also there for her when she needs them.

“My sisters in [Delta Sigma Theta] know what I do and what I go through, and me being able to let them know what’s going on helps me,” Thigpen said. “Even with track, too, I always talk to my coaches about things that are coming up and how my life is going, and they’ll adjust to it.”

What sticks out the most about Thigpen is her motivation to serve the community. The reason why she’s joined these organizations and the reason why she goes out her way to make a positive impact on the people around her is greatly fulfilling.

“Honestly, it kind of just makes me smile,” she said. “Just being able to make someone feel good or feel better. Something about it. I don’t know. It just makes my heart beat.”

Contact Amadou Diallo with comments on X @Amadou_Diallo23 or via email at


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