Cory Ott, a junior Psychology student at Stevenson University, has held major leadership roles on campus with a focus on community service over the past three years. As Director of Philanthropy, Mr. Ott partnered with numerous organizations to address some of the genuine needs of the Baltimore metro area and beyond. Hunger, illness, and pollution are just some of the issues that Mr. Ott worked to combat. Mr. Ott currently serves on the Executive Board for Relay for Life, which raises funds to cure cancer and provides support and services for cancer patients. He encourages practical solutions to community needs, often resulting in hands-on tasks that have tremendous benefits to the community. Mr. Ott has also traveled to New Orleans with Mission: I'm Home to rebuild houses that were destroyed after Hurricane Katrina, as well as Baton Rouge to rebuild homes suffering from flood damages. Mr. Ott incorporates the lessons and stories he learned through his trips into his daily life and continues to give back in any way possible. Mr. Ott is civically engaged and represents Stevenson with professionalism, excellence, and integrity while donating a myriad hours to enrich the lives of those less fortunate.
Through my years of volunteering at Stevenson University, I have found that at the root of all volunteerism is empathy. People's propensity to share stories while working transforms the volunteer work into community service. When I went to New Orleans last year to help rebuild homes during the spring break Mission: I'm Home trip, we were all sharing stories of our origins and why we were passionate to help others. Those stories not only created stronger bonds, but they also added meaning to the memories. I have also found that community service can bring together people who have never met. As a leader in Stevenson University's Relay For Life, I have spent time in Baltimore's Hope Lodge cooking for cancer patients. Hearing the stories from the patients about their journeys from diagnosis to remission fueled my passion for raising money to fight against cancer. During my time as Director of Philanthropy for The Student Government Association, I organized a food harvest drive at a local farm. That trip brought out stories I've never heard from friends I had for years. From all this experience, there is one underlying lesson I have ascertained: community service provides unity through purpose.