Senior Brad Brizendine knows that windows often open when doors close. As a walk-on player to the UGA men’s basketball team, he became super-efficient at managing his time. Then, when he was cut from the team the next year, he started looking for something to do with himself. That’s when he and a friend decided to tackle issues of poverty and homelessness in Atlanta and Athens. Brizendine started a nonprofit organization called Athens PBJs. He has raised more than $10,000 and with the help of 30-40 active volunteers and his Chi Phi fraternity, the group delivered more than 1,200 meals to homeless shelters in the community during the first three months of their existence. After graduation, Brizendine hopes to attend the UGA School of Law.
B.B.A. in finance
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I started a nonprofit organization called Athens PBJs that provides meals for people who are homeless and hungry in Athens. It began in an interesting way. I really missed playing competitive sports when I was a freshman, so I decided to try out for the men’s basketball team during the summer before my sophomore year. I made the team, and then I had the challenging task of balancing my social life and maintaining my academic goals while I also fulfilled the athletic commitments required of the sport. When more scholarship players were added to the team the next year and I was cut, I found myself looking for something else to do. I had a lot more free time than I ever had before. One night, while a friend and I were sitting around talking about poverty and homelessness in America, we decided that we were not just going to sit around and talk about it anymore, we were going to do something! We went to the grocery store that night and bought bread, peanut butter, jelly, raisins, chips, cookies, bottled water and brown paper bags. We made 18 lunches and drove around downtown Atlanta delivering the meals to homeless people. I am a member of Chi Phi, and because of the fraternity’s philanthropic activities, I knew about some of the needs in the Athens community. With this in mind, my friend and I expanded our work into Athens and started a nonprofit organization called Athens PBJs. We delivered about 1,200 meals in our first three months of existence. Through donations and a benefit concert, we have raised more than $10,000 to continue this effort. We now have about 30-40 active volunteers who make meals 3 days a week and deliver them to homeless shelters in the Athens community.
The Lovett School
I chose to attend UGA because...
...of the numerous different opportunities available to students on campus. There are more than 30,000 students at UGA, and no two students have the exact same interests. Students have the opportunity to get involved in the Greek community, athletics, theatre, music, clubs, religious activities, volunteer work and any combination of these as well. A student at UGA can choose exactly who he or she wants to be and live it up while on campus.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...playing basketball at the Ramsey Center and stopping by the Tate Center Chick-fil-a in the morning for a chicken biscuit.
When I have free time, I like...
...to be outside. Whether I am sitting on my porch doing work, playing football and basketball outside with my friends or simply walking around campus, I just love being out in the sun and breathing fresh air.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...swimming with sharks in Fiji. After studying abroad in Fiji, a few friends and I stayed three extra nights at a resort. One morning, as we were snorkeling around the reef, one of the Fijian guides made a noise that attracted five reef sharks that seemingly came out of nowhere. They swam all around us while the guide fed them some dead fish. I have always been petrified of sharks, and it was really nerve-wracking to see them so close.
My favorite place to study is...
...the second floor of the main library. Some friends and I have a special spot that we love to study (and its exact location is our secret). We get a lot of work done, but we also have a good time hanging out and messing around on our laptops.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Michael Jordan. He is living proof that determination and hard work lead to success. I also respect his competitiveness and his desire to win. I would like to play a game of one-on-one basketball with him.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...climb Mount Everest. I have always wanted to climb the tallest mountain in the world. I love setting difficult goals and trying to accomplish them. Needless to say, climbing Mt. Everest would be a difficult challenge!
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...running out onto the court with the UGA men’s basketball team before games. It was such a cool feeling to hear the music playing and all the fans cheering.