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Alumni Spotlight: Grace Ybarra

By Emma Herwehe

When Grace Ybarra started her freshman year in 2018, she didn’t know what IU Dance Marathon was. Her best friend on her floor convinced her to come to an RHARC (now FYDE) meeting. The rest is history.

After their first marathon, Grace and her best friend decided to try and make it on the same committee. They decided to go out for Hospital Relations and made it.

“I didn’t have a long connection with IUDM, but it was definitely one that developed really quickly,” Grace said. “I’m forever grateful I did choose to go to that meeting with her my freshman year.”

After her year as a committee member on HR, Grace was promoted to Outreach Chair on the same committee. Then, in her final year in IUDM, she decided to try for the Executive Council and was named Vice President of Communications.

Though Grace and the rest of Exec faced an unprecedented challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grace jokes that all the photos and content her communications focus took that year are now unusable because everyone is in masks. But it was a real challenge, and she is proud of how they handled it and how IUDM has grown since then.

“The part of IUDM’s history that I was able to work through when I was on Exec was difficult in terms of responding after the pandemic,” Grace said. “So I’ve been very impressed with the way that we, as an organization, have been able to continue to respond following that.”

Grace said no part of IUDM is scary. Asking people for money scared her at first, but being surrounded by amazing friends eager to help gets rid of that fear completely, she said.

She said IUDM is a way to give back while still having fun.

“I know this is probably an overused saying within IUDM but, ‘College is the four most selfish years of your life, and IUDM is the way to make it four of the most selfless,’” Grace said.

As someone who didn’t join Greek life, she said joining IUDM is a great way to find a community on campus and make lifelong friends. It is really a fun, unique way for someone to spend their college career, she said.

Though she graduated in 2022 and has moved to Mississippi to be a sports reporter and anchor, Grace still cries at all the IUDM videos put out by the communications focus throughout the years.

Comm loves comm!

“You put so much into it, but it’s something that’s for a lifetime,” Grace said. “The friendships you make are for a lifetime. The impact you make on the kids is for a lifetime.”

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