People Who Have Come Alive

16 Oct

Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

As you walk through the campus of Texas State University you might come across a bright green tank-top asking, “Are you in H.E.A.T?” Utilizing this unique marketing plan, H.E.A.T or the Human –Environmental-Animal-Team has become one of the most active and outspoken groups on Texas State’s campus. This organization was founded only three years ago by a student who saw a need in the world and sought out to fix it.

This student is Ian Smith and he has come alive.

Before H.E.A.T. existed, Ian would go to local animal shelters to volunteer his time. After a while, he realized that people around him were interested in the work he was doing – but what stuck out more was that there wasn’t an organization that provided opportunities for people to serve in all of the ways he wanted to serve. Ian decided to create an organization that encompassed all aspects of service, an organization that focused on positive activism, and an organization that focused on empowering students.

Their projects range from “Swipes for the Homeless”-an initiative where students donated meals in order to help feed over 300 members of the Austin homeless population. During their “Clothe Columbia” project, members of H.E.A.T. engaged students to donate articles of clothing that were then sent to Columbian school children. In a creative way to keep the San Marcos River clean, their organization put on the “H.E.A.T. Canoe/Kayak River Clean Up” in order to rid the local river of cans, glass, and other trash items. 

Ian says that H.E.A.T has shown him that no matter how tiring something is, no matter how much work it requires – as long as you are passionate about it then you will enjoy it.

Ian hopes to one day incorporate the organization because he believes it occupies its own special niche. Along with incorporating, he would like to see H.E.A.T. have its own house to facilitate the strengthening of community amongst members, build vegetable gardens, train dogs that are in need of adoption and collect rain water. The house would serve as the organization’s headquarters and prove that anyone can reduce their impact on the environment.

We asked Ian if he returned to Texas State in ten years if he thought he would be remembered for H.E.A.T. His reply: “I would love to come back and see H.E.A.T. still on campus. They don’t need to know my name, but as long as H.E.A.T. is around then that’s what truly matters.”

Though Ian is no longer an officer in the organization, his impact has spread beyond Texas State as he’s begun to focus on expansion. In addition to the 150 member chapter at Texas state, H.E.A.T. is now at Austin College, Texas A&M-College Station, the University of Texas, Southwestern University, the University of Houston, and Cy-Woods High School in Houston.

Ian’s vision has been noticed by Kelsey Timmerman the author of Where Am I Wearing?, Blake Mycoskie the founder of TOMS Shoes, and was featured on the Dallas-Fort Worth AM station WBAP on Sunday, October 14, promoting his organizations message of positive activism.

Ian Smith is a student who has come alive, but more importantly he is someone who has inspired students across Texas to come together to make a positive impact on our world.

If you’re interested in learning more about H.E.A.T. then feel free to check out their website:


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