SWAB Executive Board 2020

Cydney Abel, Executive Director

Hometown: Smyrna, GA

Year: 4th Year

Major: Ecology

Email: swab.executivedirector@gmail.com

Position Description: As executive director, I oversee the organization, working to ensure all of the moving parts of SWAB come together for a successful event day. I work closely with each member of the executive board to help their ideas come to life. I oversee our weekly meetings and serve as the main point of contact for all things SWAB related.

Why I SWAB: Reflecting on my last four years at the University of Georgia, joining SWAB has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I think the most magical thing about SWAB is its sense of community. I love that this organization allows UGA students to give back to the surrounding Athens community that gives so much to UGA. SWAB has provided me a home on this campus and the people I have worked with throughout my time in this organization are friends that I will cherish throughout my life. I am so excited for SWAB 2020 and know that this year will be one to remember! 

Jane Wilson, Director of Event Operations

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Year: 4th Year

Major: Marketing and International Business

Email: swab.eventoperations@gmail.com

Position Description: As director of event operations, I am responsible for planning the logistics of Event Day. Throughout the year, I confirm the venues, book transportation, create schedules, and coordinate volunteers. My job in 2020 is to ensure that we have an event that runs smoothly and follows safety guidelines  for both our Mentors and Mentees. 

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because I believe in the power of community. SWAB has a wonderful way of bringing the Athens and UGA communities together, which is something that, unfortunately, does not occur often. The community within the internal organization is something that I will forever cherish. In light of the global pandemic, I have seen this organization really come together and work hard to continue to bring the community together. 

Drew Hoffman, Director of Finance

Hometown: Macon, GA

Year: Senior

Major: Finance

Email: swab.finance@gmail.com

Position Description: As the director of Finance, my responsibility is to make sure that SWAB remains financially sound. I manage the organization's overall budget and allocate funds to other executive directors. I am responsible for applying for grants and seeking sponsorship opportunities.

Why I SWAB: I looked into many organizations when I first came to campus, but I felt like SWAB stood out to me because of its involvement in the local community. I could see the members genuinely wanted to become a part of their new home of Athens. The work we do affects more than just our mentors because it helps out families and really incorporates the student body of UGA into the surrounding population. Also, I have a deep passion for working with youth and want to serve as a positive role model.

Katie Devine, Director of Mentees

Hometown: Marietta, GA 

Year: 4th Year

Major: Elementary Education 

Email: swab.countyrelations@gmail.com

Position Description: The director of mentees works with the family engagement specialists within the Clarke county elementary schools to bridge the connection between UGA and it’s community. We work together to invite children from the Athens community to go holiday shopping with a mentor from the University of Georgia!

Why I SWAB: I first got involved in SWAB through being a mentor on event day my freshman year. Shortly after that I applied to a position on committee, and worked up to an executive position because I knew I wanted to be more involved with this amazing organization. I SWAB to give back to the wonderful Athens community that we live in, connect UGA and it’s community, and give these families the best holiday possible! 

Matthew Spencer, Director of Mentors

Hometown: Cumming, GA

Year: 4th Year

Major: History

Email: swab.mentors@gmail.com

Position Description: As Director of Mentors, my job is to facilitate communication between our mentors and the executive board. I mainly do this by helping mentors complete each step of the process to become a mentor. These steps include usually Background Check, EarlyBird sign-ups, and mentor training. For Event Day, I pair the mentors together and also work with the executive board to pair mentors to their assigned shifts. 

Why I SWAB: I've been a part of SWAB now for four years, and through that time SWAB has become sort of like a family to me. I have made so many friends through my time, and each year I have loved seeing how SWAB grows. I love that our Event Day is a celebration of the children in our community, and I also love that SWAB can serve as an opportunity to remind mentors that Athens Clarke County has a community outside of campus. My position this year has changed in the fact that I was not able to do EarlyBird signups and have had to drop mentor appreciation week. Although it makes me sad, that I cannot see our mentors in person until Event Day, it still brings me great joy to see mentors signing up. I believe my job this year is more set to provide sustainability to whoever is in my position next year.

Christie Carpenter, Director of Event Creativity

Hometown: Cumming, GA

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Food Science- Pre-Medical intent 

Email: swab.eventcrativity@gmail.com

Position Description: The Director of Event Creativity gets to come up with the SWAB event day theme and decorations as well as gets to plan fun events like homecoming week, window painting, and street painting. Other duties are helping other exec members out where they need some more creativity and design!

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to make the greater connection between UGA students and the Athens community. SWAB has given us internal members, and many other people, lots of opportunities to grow closer with, and learn more about, the Athens community. The amazing friendships, experiences, and joy I have had through SWAB have impacted my life at college profoundly and continue to everyday! This year is going to look different for the Director of Event Creativity since event day has turned into a drive thru with less contact and less areas to decorate. Even though there will be less space to decorate, that does NOT mean that the magic of event day will not still be there- I will work very hard to use the time and space available to make the SWAB event day so special for the internal members of SWAB, UGA students, and the children of Athens. 

Mallory Mifflin, Director of Mass Media

Hometown: Kennesaw, GA

Year: Junior

Major: Cognitive Science

Email: swab.media@gmail.com

Position Description: As the Director of Mass Media, I am responsible for keeping Shop with a Bulldawg's brand looking polished and representative of everything we are about. Some of my responsibilities include designing promotional graphics, Event Day T-shirts, and organizing and assisting with photography and videography for our events. I work closely with the Director of Public Relations to create a cohesive brand. We strive to represent SWAB in an effort to build our organization further.

Why I SWAB: I love SWAB because our entire organization, from the executive board to our mentees, is full of joy. SWAB Event Day is something many of us in the Athens community look forward to. This year with COVID-19 is especially challenging for everyone involved. Nothing has been normal, including my position this year. There has been a huge shift on social media and it has become hugely important for sharing information. We have been ramping up our social media pushes while saving the tress and stepping away from flyers and stickers. While we will not be having mentor T-shirts this year in an effort to invite more children, I still hope to design some cool masks to keep our student mentors and volunteers safe and let them know we appreciate them.

Caroline McKeon, Director of Public Relations

Hometown: Snellville, GA

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Management Information Systems, Spanish Minor

Email: swab.publicrelations@gmail.com

Position Description: As director of Public Relations, I work to promote SWAB's brand and mission to the UGA and Athens community through social media and the organization's website. I work closely with the Director of Mass Media to ensure our image is positive and cohesive at all times. Times are looking different due to COVID-19, so communication with our community is even more important.

Why I SWAB: As students here at UGA, we often forget we are living in a community more than just a college town. I SWAB because it is a way to bridge this gap between students and the community, and it allows us to work as one together each event day. This year with COVID, it has been challenging to find a way to safely allow our event day to happen. but I am so proud of this organization as a whole to make this possible again. I am so excited for this year of SWAB, even if it is looking a bit different.

Avery Collier, Director of Fundraising

Hometown: Roswell, GA

Year: 4th Year

Major: Psychology

Email: swab.fundraising@gmail.com

Position Description: As Director of Fundraising, my job is to oversee collection of funds for Event Day. This includes working internally to coordinate fundraising opportunities for members of SWAB and planning external events to increase fundraising. I plan percentage nights with local businesses, raffles, fundraising pushes and all other fundraising events that SWAB puts on. I also oversee all Mentor fundraising accounts throughout the year, so please send your fundraising questions my way! My job helps SWAB continue to take intentional steps and open Event Day to more kids within the Athens-Clarke County community–even in unprecedented times.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to give back to the community that gives so much to us in our time at UGA. Even if it's just for one day, it's incredible to see so many students coming together to pour into our community and make such genuine connections with the kids. There is nothing like seeing the smiles and happiness on the faces of both the mentors and the mentees. Although this year may look a little different, SWAB hopes to still bring some joy to the holiday season. Fundraising this year is going to be especially important in order to make Event Day the best it can be, so we are hard at work trying to safely raise as much money as possible! 

Sara Balian, Co-Director of Recruitment

Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Finance

Email: swab.recruitment@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of Recruitment, I work alongside Chris Sprung to inform University of Georgia students about SWAB’s Event Day and mission. Our goal is to recruit members to join the SWAB family and inspire them to become involved in the community. We communicate directly with students our mission of celebrating the value of community, the excitement of the holidays, and the children of Athens! 

Why I SWAB: SWAB has been an incredible way to give back to the community we get to call home. After joining Freshmen Council, I knew that SWAB was not only an amazing way to get involved but would make UGA feel more like home. This organization has given me the opportunity to experience the Athens community and meet some of the most passionate and generous students on campus. This year looks different due to COVID-19, but we are taking advantage of working with other organizations to promote SWAB among the UGA student body and using social media to connect with students. I love being part of an organization that creates an event full of joy and am so excited to see what the future holds for SWAB!

Chris Sprung, Co-Director of Recruitment

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Biological Engineering

Email: swab.recruitment@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of Recruitment, I work alongside Sara Balin to inform University of Georgia students about SWAB’s Event Day and mission. Our goal is to recruit members to join the SWAB family and inspire them to become involved in the community. We communicate directly with students our mission of celebrating the value of community, the excitement of the holidays, and the children of Athens! 

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to try and give back to the community that has given me so much these past few years! Even though I can’t interact with the UGA students face-to-face, I still am doing my best to reach out to as many students as possible so we can connect with that many more children from our community.

Brandon Pioso, Co-Director of Committee

Hometown: Lilburn, GA 

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Accounting

Email: swab.committee@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of Committee, I work with Carol Beatty to lead a small group of passionate, dedicated individuals that brainstorms, fundraises, and plans for Event Day. Committee works closely with each other and the Executive Board to plan the best Event Day possible. Carol and I also act as liaisons between Committee and the Executive Board to ensure that Committee's ideas are heard.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to give back to the community and to help bring the joy of the holidays to the children of Athens. I've been a part of SWAB for all three years that I've been at UGA. I started during my freshman year as a mentor and after seeing the amazing impact this organization has became more involved with SWAB by joining Committee. This was a great experience and allowed me to help plan and implement event day from behind the scenes. This year, I have the privilege of being a member of the executive board and I look forward to making this year's event day the best it can be. I know This year is definitely going to be different, but I am looking forward to overcoming the challenges that this pandemic brings and fulfilling SWAB's mission to bring the joy of the holidays to the children of Athens!

Carol Beatty, Co- Director of Committee

Hometown: Roswell, GA

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Biological Engineering

Email: swab.committee@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of Committee, I work with Brandon Pioso to lead a small group of passionate, dedicated individuals that brainstorms, fundraises, and plans for Event Day. Committee works closely with each other and the Executive Board to plan the best Event Day possible. Carol and I also act as liaisons between Committee and the Executive Board to ensure that Committee's ideas are heard..

Why I SWAB: SWAB is a unique and amazing opportunity allowing UGA students to connect with the local Athens community. After attending my first Event Day as a freshman, I was hooked! Each and every year, my love for SWAB is proven again as I get to see so many UGA students and local Athens children beyond excited to hang out and go Holiday shopping (it’s truly a win-win)!! Outside of event day, the people and the #SWABfam make this organization so special and dear to our hearts :) 

Grant Mitchell, Co-Director of Freshman Council

Hometown: Milton, GA 

Year: 4th Year

Major: Public Relations

Email: swab.freshcochair@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of First-Year Council, I welcome new students into SWAB organization by establishing a supportive community to help them succeed and develop as leaders on campus. Working alongside my wonderful Co-Director, Sophie Brown, we aim to increase our council's knowledge and engagement of Athens-Clarke County, its relationship with UGA, and their capacity to serve sustainably and intentionally as they move through college.

Why I SWAB: I remember my older sister calling home during her first semester of college in 2014 to tell my family about SWAB. I saw SWAB allowed her to connect passionately with the Athens community, and I knew if I ever became a dawg that I would to do SWAB as well. Here we are six years later! There is no greater honor as a student in Athens than to pour love into the city that so graciously offers each of us a home. This mission has only deepened as families continue to experience the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19, particularly due to the actions of negligent college students. In FYC, we've adjusted to build virtual community with students and introduce them to non-profit work in new ways.

Sophie Brown, Co-Director of Freshman Council

Hometown: Hinsdale, Illinois

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Elementary Education

Email: swab.freshcochair@gmail.com

Position Description: Together with my passionate Co-Director, Grant, we are connecting a group of first-year students with our beloved SWAB family. First-Year Council is an opportunity for students to better understand the Athens-Clarke county community, to foster genuine friendships with internal members of SWAB, and to dive into non-profit service work on campus. We are so excited to grow as a council, and can’t wait for SWAB 2020!

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to work within the community that has given so much to me! The possibility of involvement so early in my college career excited me when joining SWAB, and my innate desire to engage with others, help others, and lead others flourished. Connecting with members of this organization, I instantly felt grounded. I found a group of people who care about kids the way I care about kids. I can’t wait to help first-year students find their footing at UGA, because I undoubtedly found mine within SWAB. This organization has given me countless friendships, opportunities to interact with children, and reasons to rewatch children’s movies. SWAB has taught me so much about myself and the Athens community, extending far beyond Event Day each year, and we are so excited about our 2020 plans! 

Kevin Hunter, Co-Director of Ambassadors

Hometown: Milton, GA 

Year: 5th Year, Grad Student

Major: Advertising

Email: swab.ambassadors@gmail.com

Position Description: I co-lead a group of 55 UGA students, Ambassadors, in working towards SWAB's mission to celebrate the value of community, the excitement of the holidays, and the children of Athens. Ambassadors is an integral part of SWAB that exists to spread awareness for our organization and to help bring event day to life.

Why I SWAB: 5 years into SWAB and I'm not tired of it yet! I love this organization so much and truly cannot imagine my college experience without it. I SWAB because I love both the UGA and the Athens-Clarke County communities and it's such an incredible opportunity to see the two of them collide. 

Khemisha Brown, Co-Director of Ambassadors

Hometown: Kennesaw, GA

Year: 3rd Year

Major:  Data Science

Email: swab.ambassadors@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of Ambassadors, I work alongside my wonderful Co-Director, Kevin, to lead a group of 50 incredible ambassadors, with the help of seven ambassador group leaders. These ambassadors spread the joy and mission of SWAB in their respective areas of the UGA community, around campus, and on social media. Ambassadors help fundraise for SWAB, work with youth in our community, and act as mentors on Event Day. 

Why I SWAB: SWAB is an organization that has helped make UGA feel like home for me. I love SWAB because it helps me look beyond the UGA bubble and give back to the community that remains here long after I graduate. SWAB has introduced me to incredible community, allowed me to learn and grow alongside amazing leaders, and learn more about what service in a non-profit can look like. This year will definitely be different with seeing our ambassadors through Zoom instead of in person, but the magic is still there and I can't wait to see ambassadors spreading joy on Event Day.

Emily Thomann, Director of Community Outreach

Hometown: Marietta, GA 

Year: 4th Year

Major: Finance and Economics

Email: swab.communityoutreach@gmail.com

Position Description: As Director of Community Outreach, I work to keep SWAB engaged with the Athens-Clarke County community year-round. From coordinating community volunteering events to organizing the Pandemic Relief: Bulldawgs Against Hunger fundraiser, I continuously strive to ensure that SWAB celebrates the value of community. Additionally, I head SWAB's sponsorship program and other corporate outreach initiatives. 

Why I SWAB: After serving as a mentor my freshman year, I immediately knew I wanted to get more involved with SWAB. As students, we often take Athens for granted. SWAB gives us the opportunity to tangibly give back to our community that provides so much for us. Seeing the joy on each and every kid's face on Event Day brings me so much happiness. I am so grateful for every experience SWAB has given me from spending the day with my mentee freshman year to meeting all of the inspiring people who work with SWAB. Due to CDC guidelines and UGA regulations, it will not be possible for us to maintain an in-person connection with our community this year. However, I am looking forward to virtually connecting with businesses and organizations that make Athens such an incredible place. Getting involved with SWAB is easily the best decision I've made at UGA, and I'm so thankful for the impact it has had on me!

Connor Giresi, Director of Campus Outreach

Hometown: Acworth, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major:  Public Relations and Political Science

Email: swab.campusoutreach@gmail.com

Position Description: As the Director of Campus Outreach, my goal is to connect as many students and student organizations with Shop with a Bulldawg as possible. I have the opportunity to work with our Executive Board, Committee, Ambassadors, and FYC to complete service opportunities together and spread SWAB's mission throughout our campus. 

Why I SWAB: SWAB is an organization very close to my heart. Immediately after joining Freshman Council, I knew this was going to become my second family at the University of Georgia and having the opportunity to work with equally passionate students is such a privilege I will never take for granted. I SWAB for the children and their families of Athens, for the sustainable advancement of Athens as a whole, and I hope this organization will live and grow for decades to come!