The Cougar Volunteer Spirit is Alive and Well in Charleston

This blog is a project by public relations students at the College of Charleston. Since its inception in 2004, the Cougar Volunteer Spirit has showcased dozens of students who give of their time, effort and hearts to helping those in need. They don't do it for recognition like this, but their stories need to be shared because of their admirable qualities of character and caring. "Be the change you want to see in the world," Mahatma Ghandi said. That's the Cougar Volunteer Spirit that roars through these pages. Click on the side photos to see the articles. See photos of the students who wrote the pieces at the end. Thanks!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NANCY AUSTIN - Dance Marathon

Getting It All Done and
Still Having Time for Fun

By Amy Gustafson

Nancy (back row, second from left) with the rest of the
executive board at Dance Marathon 2011.

When I first started talking with Nancy Austin, I was blown away by all the things she is able to get done in a day. She is taking a full load of classes, and they are hard; I would know, I am in a few of them. Along with those classes she is on the executive board of two different student organizations. She is part of the pre-medical student group, Alpha Epsilon Delta(AED), as well as part of one of the largest philanthropy groups at the College of Charleston. She has been a part of Dance Marathon since she came to the College and she joined the executive board this past year.

She amazes me with all that she does. Sometimes I have even heard her say that she has been up doing things for various classes or clubs since four in the morning! If anybody deserves to be recognized by Cougar Volunteer Spirit it is Nancy Austin. She brightens the day of everyone around her and still manages to d
o well in school and give back to the community.

About Nancy Austin
Aiken, S.C.
Major: Biology
Minors: Chemistry, Psychology
Expected Graduation: May 2011

Volunteer Activities: I have been attending Dance Marathon since my freshman year at College of Charleston. My freshman year I made a team with my roommates. During my sophomore and junior year I was the Team Captain of the on-campus Baptist Christian Ministry's team. For my senior year I am the Hospitality chair on the executive board for Dance Marathon. I have also been a part of AED where I have been Food chair for one year.

What do you enjoy most about community service? I think it is fun to see how my actions can affect other people. With some organizations you can't see the direct effect you have on people but with Dance Marathon you get to see that direct effect that you have on families and their children.

Most memorable volunteer experience? The first day I volunteered in the emergency room at the Medical University of South Carolina, the doctors were showing me around and they pulled back the curtain around one of the beds and there was a patient lying there with his guts spilled out on the table! It was quite an experience. I can honestly say I well never forget that day for the rest of my life.

What are you most proud of contributing to your organizations? I'm most proud of being able to recruit people. I enjoy spreading the word about MUSC's Children's Hospital. I like being able to help the families.

How have you personally benefited from volunteering? With volunteering I have become much more organized. I've developed my time management skills along with people skills that you normally wouldn't be able to pick up on the street. When you're at Dance Marathon you get to meet some of the families you're actually helping and when you talk to them you have to be conscious of what you say and how you say it. It's those skills that I've acquired during my volunteer work with Dance Marathon.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering? Do it!

How do you think your friends and family would describe you? I think my friends and family would describe me as hard working, generally optimistic, and cheerful.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation I'm going to take a few more classes here at the College of Charleston and I'll hopefully be working in a hospital. After that I plan on applying to Physician's Assistant school.

To learn more about the Dance Marathon program at the College of Charleston, please visit this website:

About the author:
Amy Gustafson is a senior communication and chemistry major at the College of Charleston.

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