Nov. 2, 2015
By Brad Muller | More Features
Jordyn Augustus is excited about making a difference, and not just on the softball diamond. The sophomore student-athlete is one of 15 University of South Carolina students selected to participate in the Carolina Leadership Initiative (CLI), which promotes leadership development on campus and helps create new leadership projects. Augustus was interested in the opportunity to do a project that could create a positive change in the community.
“I don’t just want to be a student,” Augustus said. “I don’t just want to be an athlete. I really want to do something here and leave a legacy. I really want to get the public and the fans involved with our players for a better cause.”
CLI is designed to assist students in developing the motivation and the skills to make a positive difference in their local communities, throughout the state of South Carolina and around the nation and world. While the CLI students are still coming up with project ideas, Augustus is interested in developing a program that involves student-athletes, fans and organizations within in the city in need of new sports equipment for children to use.
“Whether it’s new or used equipment, my idea is to have each team have one night per year where they are hosting a game, and the way people can get into the game is to bring some sort of sporting equipment and donate it,” Augustus said. “Whether it’s a used glove or bat or a soccer ball. Let’s reuse it and recycle it. What’s old to some people could be brand new to someone else. I’d like to get as many of our teams involved too, so that when we are replacing equipment here, maybe we can donate it. We’d like to find an organization that needs that stuff and also invite kids from that organization to a game. We could have the student-athletes meet the kids at that organization, and play and talk with them for a while.”
Augustus was inspired in one of CLI’s meetings which detailed the creation of the Make a Wish Foundation by police officers who wanted to bring joy to a boy dying of leukemia in the late 1970s. Although she is proud to wear a Gamecock uniform, Augustus acknowledged that being a student-athlete isn’t what defines her.
“Softball is not who I am; it’s something I love to do,” Augustus explained. “I don’t want people who see me on campus to see me as a softball player. It’s easy for student-athletes to get caught up in that.”
You don’t have to change the world today, but your one little idea can change the world tomorrow. It’s about who can we impact today, because that impact is going to have another impact and then another one and then another.
That being said, Augustus takes her role as a student-athlete seriously.
“Student-athletes really do have a lot of influence with the public,” Augustus said. “If we can get involved and make a difference then we can get something out of it, then the public gets something out of it, and the fans get involved and get something out of it. It’s not just one person trying to do something. It’s about the whole community coming together to help a group of people.”
That sort of snowball effect is something Augustus sees as critical in trying to make a difference.
“South Carolina can be a starting point,” Augustus said. “I just want to put the ball in play. I want to see how my project could work here. If somebody takes my idea to another school, I would love to see this take off. You don’t have to change the world today, but your one little idea can change the world tomorrow. It’s about who can we impact today, because that impact is going to have another impact and then another one and then another. We’re really encouraging any ideas, not matter how small it seems at first because it could turn into the next big thing.”
A by-product of her idea is that it would encourage children to stay active as opposed to sitting in front of the television all day. As one of six children, Augustus grew up helping out a lot around the house, and has been inspired by her family.
“My mom (Joy) is a very giving and caring person,” Augustus said. “She would drop everything to help anyone out. A lot of people in my family are like that. I’m a lot like my mom. If there is a way I can help somebody out there, I’m going to go out and do it.”
Service to others is nothing knew as she was involved with the Peer Assisted Learning Support program in high school back home in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania.
“There was a group of high school students who would be involved in different activities with special education students,” Augustus said. “I grew a love for those kids. My drive to do community service and help other people really started in high school. It’s really puts my life in perspective with how much I have, and it makes me want to give back. So for me, this is not only how can I change the environment around me, and it’s not about how many hours of service I do, it’s about what kind of difference I can make.”
Augustus currently has a double major with political science and psychology, and she is already thinking about attending law school. She is confident that her leadership experience at South Carolina will be something that will carry over into whichever professional field she enters.
“I think it’s really setting me up for a good foundation in leadership and what employers look for in leaders,” Augustus said. “I think it will help make whatever kind of workplace I’m in, better. Just the opportunity to talk to a lot of different people and share different ideas is great.”
The eagerness to learn and interest in taking on a leadership role seems to be a natural fit for Augustus. She was named to the SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll last year and was also a NFCA scholar-athlete. While she looks forward to competing for more playing time on the field in the spring, she also looks forward to taking what she learns and passing it along to her teammates.
“If I can help my teammates, then I can help us learn more about leadership,” Augustus said. “I can help us learn how to pick people up and motivate people or get them involved. Then that can make us a better team. I have also thought about how I can create change on campus and leave a legacy behind.”
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