A passion for volunteering led Di Huynh to sign up to be a Team Leader for The Project when she was a freshman. She didn’t realize what a big deal The Project was until the day of UT’s largest community service event. “It is a true Texas-size event,” she said.
This year as a senior and a fourth-year Project veteran, Di is the vice-chair for the Volunteer and Management Committee, helping to recruit team leaders and volunteers and conducting training workshops for the team leads. “It is exciting and scary at the same time,” Di explained. “Chaos always happens.”
As vice chair for the Volunteer and Management Committee, Di Huynh recruits team leaders and volunteers for the 15th annual Project to be held Feb. 22.
And even though being on the planning team for the event means long days especially on the day of The Project, Di remains passionate about the event and volunteering as a way of life, especially for students.
“We’re the face of UT for the community,” she said. “Dedicating an entire day to working in the community sends a good message about our campus to the community.” And, according to Di, that day spent in the community is a nice break from school. “It helps put things into perspective. As students, we usually only see other students every day and don’t realize what people face out in the ‘real world.’”
Di has seen a real difference in the needs of neighborhoods that she has worked in the past four years. She explained that in the previous two years, students served as advocates for the Dove Springs neighborhood, which is a community that feels overlooked. “We wanted to tell others about the community population and needs there,” she said. “This year in the Holly Street neighborhood we want to spread the word about issues around gentrification.”
As a computer science major getting ready to graduate in May, Di has been able to parlay her love of volunteering and her experiences into a job in her field. She has signed with Blackbaud, a leading software company here in Austin which partners with nonprofits like the Komen Foundation to develop software and services. The company’s most well-known software is Raiser’s Edge. Di went through several interviews before being hired and loved that during an onsite interview with a manager with whom she will be working, spent most of the interview talking about—what else—The Project. “That was great,” she said.