2020 Thirty Under 30: Zach Hanson

Zach is a man that eager to share his knowledge for the good of those around him and is passionate about service to others. He is a member of the Eta Sigma chapter at the University of California – Los Angeles and was on the Executive Board as Chaplain. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Education Studies. Immediately following his graduation, he moved to San Antonio to volunteer as an AmeriCorps member for the non-profit organization, City Year. He tutored and mentored 15 high school freshman who were at-risk for dropping out. The next year he served in another AmeriCorps position in San Jose, California working with the non-profit, Our City Forest. He served as the tree nursery inventory manager and lead salesperson during this term- he is firm in the belief that this is where he discovered his passion for environmentalism and volunteerism. During this term, he worked with community members to promote the planting of trees within the urban forest as a method to fight climate change as well as other social inequities such as poverty and crime. In 2016, after some setbacks, he joined the United States Peace Corps in 2017 and was assigned to the Caribbean nation of Jamaica. Since then he has served as a Peace Corps volunteer working in the rural areas of the country to promote environmentalism and climate-smart agricultural practices. One accomplishment that he is most proud of is writing and applying for grant funding which facilitated the installation of a 4600-gallon rainwater-catching system. Another way he gives back to the Jamaican country is by working with a local non-profit, the Alligator Head Foundation. This organization’s focus is on protection of the local marine sanctuary. He has worked on a variety of projects including a rural watershed management project and an internationally recognized coral reef monitoring survey in which he reports the results to the Jamaican government. Most recently he has applied for an extension to stay in Jamaica. As a volunteer, he has earned numerous awards including an award for his work with a young women’s empowerment camp called GLOW and for his group performance of a culturally appropriate, Jamaican Patwa poem to international scholars at a creole language conference at the University of the West Indies. Additionally, he has been presented with a Jamaican Patwa Language Proficiency award, the Compassion Award and was chosen for the Country Director’s Distinctive Service Award. He credits Pi Kappa Phi with bringing him to the concept of serving a cause, organization, or project bigger than himself and introducing him to philanthropy. His Fraternity experience has taught him integrity, collaboration, teamwork, and service to others as an integral part of building strong bonds within a community of diverse individuals.