Senior Human Biology Pre-Med major Disha Nath is a three-year Project veteran and is heading up the Outreach Committee this year for the university’s largest day of community service. “In the beginning, we were really scared we couldn’t raise enough money to pull off the event,” she said.
But rest assured, now that The Project 2014 is less than two weeks away, money and in-kind donations have been secured, tools procured, transportation arranged and volunteers recruited.
Team work is key for the nine-member executive board that coordinates UT Austin’s largest day of community service. Disha said she has learned that communication is vital for the board as “the other team members can’t read your mind.” The team has found new ways to ease communications like using Google Voice. Disha has also had to learn to delegate, having two vice-chairs on the Outreach Committee. “I struggled with how to delegate because I wanted them [the vice chairs] to have autonomy to do their work.”
The executive board and planning committees begin meeting a year in advance and devote a tremendous amount of time and effort to The Project each year. But all of the hours, myriad meetings and on-the-job learning are worth it for Disha. Not only has she learned a great deal about leadership and the Austin community, but she said, “I found a home where people who have the same passion as me—to volunteer. We put ourselves out there to volunteer and are serious about it; we can depend on each other. It is great to work with people who share the same passion.”
The Project isn’t Disha’s only volunteer and leadership gig. She volunteered at St. David’s Hospital for a year and is also president of Global Medical Training, an organization that provides medical services in remote areas of Central America. A trip to Nicaragua two years ago confirmed that Disha wanted to go into medicine. “Helping people makes me really happy,” she said. “I’m doing something that I was meant to do in my life.”