Hometown: Bel Air, Maryland
Concentration: International and Public Affairs and History
Junior International and Public Affairs (IAPA) and History concentrator Logan Danker is keeping himself busy. In addition to pursuing his A.B. at Brown in two different concentrations and serving as publicity chair of the Watson Student Advisory Council, he serves as co-executive director of Time To Run, a Providence non-profit working to make political advocacy and the ability to run for office open to a wider range of citizens.
Danker said his background as a first-generation student from a low-income family drew him to community service. "Any college is going to have an impact on its community," he said, "but I realize that Brown really plays a huge role in Providence in terms of how much property it owns and how many students and staff live in the area." Danker said in his own community, he saw examples of "people being negatively impacted by long-standing institutions." "I really wanted to get involved and give back to the community and make sure that I was working to create a better community in Providence and not harming it in any way," he said.
Danker said he learned about Time To Run while volunteering for the campaign of Corey Jones, a 2022 candidate for city council in Providence's Ward 3. Jones, former director of the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island political action committee, ran on a platform of bringing all voices to the table in the political process. His campaign slogan was "No Voice Unheard."
Danker said he was attracted to Jones' message because, like Jones, he grew up in a low-income family. "His message really resonated with me, and I wanted to get involved," he said. "[Jones'] emphasis on community engagement and interacting in a meaningful way with voters and bringing their voices to the table in policymaking decisions was something that really attracted me to his campaign," said Danker.
Not long after he began volunteering, Danker became Jones' political director. "I led the creation of his policy platform and worked on converting the feedback from hundreds of constituents into a policy platform that was reflective of what the community members wanted," Danker said.
While Jones' bid for city council was ultimately unsuccessful, Danker says his participation led him to Time To Run. "Cory had started Time To Run as a way of giving greater access to running for office by creating training programs and educational materials for people who want to run for office or advocate for the issues that were important to them," he said. After the campaign, Danker said, "Cory encouraged me to step into a leadership role in the organization, and I just kind of fell into the executive director position."
"I wanted to get involved with Time To Run because I really believe in the mission of making advocacy and politics more accessible to a wider range of people," said Danker. "I believe that diversity within the decision-making process and having people with lived experiences being able to advocate for things is the best way to create meaningful change."
Danker admits that balancing 10 to 20 hours a week of non-profit work with the schedule of a full-time Brown undergraduate can be challenging. "I'm thinking about law school, so grades are very important to me. And I came to Brown to receive an education, so I really take my coursework seriously. I think it's about trying to find ways to find more time by creating a flexible schedule," he said.
Danker maintains his IAPA coursework has generally complimented his advocacy work. "I've engaged with a lot of faculty and staff at Watson. I'm taking a course on nonprofits right now, and [Watson senior fellow] Bill Allen has been helpful with the theoretical framework behind non-profits. Beyond that, his personal insight and willingness to chat about ideas have been really helpful," he said. Likewise, he said that Watson senior fellow Ari Gabinet "has been great in terms of law school advice and mentoring me to be a more effective leader."
While Danker plans to attend law school, he says he can also envision the possibility of holding elective office himself at some point in the future. "I would have to feel like the skills that I would bring to the table are relevant to the community issues at hand," he said.
"My main motivation stems from my personal experiences. Growing up as a first-generation student with divorced parents from a low-income background, I've seen how difficult it can be for people," Danker said. "But at the same time, I see the wide range of opportunities available to me. And that motivates me to make the most of those opportunities and to work to create the same kind of opportunities for other people who might not be in a situation like mine,” he said.
— Pete Bilderback