Auburn alumna donates kidney to college roommate

Originally published on the Auburn University Newsroom.

The love of the Auburn Family knows no bounds. And perhaps, it’s because members of the Auburn Family strive to live out the core values George Petrie wrote in The Auburn Creed.

“I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.”

Auburn alumnae Martha Dazzio ’93 and Susannah Cleveland ’93 understand that line in the creed more than most. The two were roommates at Auburn and they formed a friendship rooted in love. Although years have passed and the two live in separate cities, the bond that formed while on the Plains now runs deeper than ever.

This past January, Dazzio embraced the power of the human touch and became a living organ donor when she donated one of her kidneys to Cleveland in a successful transplant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. Dazzio’s selfless act is one of countless examples of the love that runs through the Auburn Family.

It all started back when they were still students at Auburn.

Cleveland was first diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disease, when she was 22 years old. She was in her last year of college and still lived with Dazzio.

“It progressed through the years and never really gave me too much trouble until the last two years where I started getting into end-stage renal failure. At that point, only 20 percent of my kidney was functioning,” Cleveland said.

After the additional diagnosis and appointments at Piedmont and Emory hospitals in Atlanta, Cleveland was placed on Georgia’s donor list in the final stages of kidney failure. All of her family members were deemed negative matches, and Cleveland prepared to be put on dialysis as she waited for a kidney.

When Dazzio heard Cleveland’s disease had progressed, she knew she was meant to donate one of her own. They decided to try to get accepted into UAB’s donor program so Dazzio would be closer to home if her kidney was indeed a match.

“I had zero restraints. I just knew I was going to be a match. There was no doubt in my mind,” Dazzio said.

After months of waiting to be accepted at UAB, Cleveland was officially placed on the Alabama donor list. Dazzio then went through a series of interviews and physical tests to ensure her kidney was compatible.

“The Monday after Thanksgiving, I got the call that we were a perfect match. Every blood and tissue test came back as an exact match,” Dazzio said. “We were as close as blood relatives.”

The two went into surgery on Jan. 5. Since then, both women have fully recovered. However, Cleveland will be on medicine for the rest of her life to ensure she continues to accept the new kidney.

“It usually takes up to six weeks for a recipient’s new kidney to begin working. Mine started working for her before she got out of surgery,” Dazzio said.

The night before the surgery, their other college roommates and close Auburn friends came to the hospital to encourage them and give their love. Dazzio said the night was spent telling stories and reflecting on their time at Auburn.

“I have such a deep love for Auburn,” Dazzio said. “My dad, grandparents and Susannah all gave me a love for Auburn that I will hold forever.”

While at Auburn, the two women were in the same sorority, members of the Student Government Association and served as War Eagle Girls for the Office of the President.

Dazzio said she was also grateful for the support they received from Auburn through the whole process.

“My son is a freshman at Auburn and his fraternity prayed for us throughout the whole process. Also, our sorority’s current chapter sent us an encouraging video sending us their love and prayers,” Dazzio said. “It was so incredible to be surrounded by a love like that. The Auburn Family always comes through.”

Cleveland is still active on campus, participating in War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen events and interviews several times a year.

“Auburn is truly my heart. I love being able to visit with current students and see the ways that the university has grown and changed over the years,” Cleveland said. “Some of my best years were spent at Auburn, and I am so thankful for it.”

Dazzio and Cleveland encourage each member of the Auburn Family to be tested as a possible kidney donor. Cleveland said the best resource for information about donating is on the website of transplant hospitals.

“There are over 3,000 people on the waiting list in need of a kidney in Alabama. My long-term goal is to find a way to connect Auburn alumni and students together and help alleviate the problem close to home,” Dazzio said. “I had such an amazing experience with it and I hope people will consider giving to others in this way.”

Cleveland said she could not thank Auburn enough for her experiences and friendships formed while at school.

“The Auburn Family is everything to me,” Cleveland said. “It brought me Martha. She has definitely blessed me as a friend. I am humbled by her selflessness to not even question doing this. She saved my life and I don’t think I can ever thank her enough.”

Auburn students meet with governor and state officials at annual Lobby Day

*This Article originally appeared in Auburn University Newsroom*

Auburn’s SGA Lobby Board met with Alabama’s governor, lieutenant governor and state officials to discuss issues related to higher education as part of the annual SGA Lobby Day on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the state’s capitol in Montgomery.

The Lobby Board, a branch of SGA’s cabinet, consists of 30 Auburn students with a passion for local and state politics as well as a desire to lobby for more funding for Auburn University.

Lobby Board President Calvin Wilborn said that SGA Lobby Day allows the board to gain face time and strengthen their relationships with their elected officials.

“It is something that Auburn has been participating in for the last 20 years,” Wilborn said. “This day is important because we can meet with our representatives and senators and show them our passion for these issues.”

Students had the opportunity to meet with Gov. Robert Bentley and discuss current issues in the state as well as plans for Alabama’s growth. Bentley complimented the group on their desire to make an impact on their campus and in their state.

“I have learned to love and respect Auburn. It’s a different atmosphere there and you all ought to be proud of that,” Bentley said.

Lt. Gov. and Auburn alumna Kay Ivey spoke at a luncheon, sharing stories about her time at Auburn and how it changed her life for the better.

“You need to live by the Auburn Creed. Be friendly, forward thinking and take advantage of every opportunity to improve your community,” said Ivey.

Ivey also stressed the importance of being informed and involved in political decisions at the local, state and federal level.

“You have to pay your city rent just like you have to pay your house rent,” Ivey said. “We all have an obligation to get involved in our community, to help others and help improve the quality of life where we live and work.”

More than 20 elected officials attended the luncheon and spoke with students on issues ranging from how to get involved with politics to the current political climate in Alabama.

Emily Stone, an SGA senator for the College of Agriculture and a member of Lobby Board, said her passion for politics stems from a desire to increase college funding and see long-term growth in Alabama.

“Many people in the state don’t have the opportunity to go to college,” said Stone. “I think the more people that become educated, the more opportunities there are for jobs to come to Alabama. This will then uplift our state as a whole.”

Senator Tom Whatley, District 27 of Lee County, said it is exciting and refreshing having young minds visit the capital and be excited about politics.

“The students at Auburn are a cross representation from all over the state,” Whatley said. “I’m requesting a total budget of around $12 million for Auburn Univeristy for programs like cyber security or the aviation program. Having people from the district tell their elected officials why those budget items are important is extremely valuable.”

Jesse Westerhouse, Auburn’s 2016-2017 SGA president, urged all Auburn students to get involved with the local, state and federal initiatives.

“Lobby Day is a great opportunity for us to form relationships and show the capital that Auburn students care about politics,” Westerhouse said. “I would encourage all students to apply for Lobby Board or get involved so we can better the future of Auburn Univeristy and Alabama as a whole.”

Architecture Student Designs in Rome

*This article originally appeared in the Auburn Family Blog*

Auburn’s third-year fountainarchitecture students enter into their spring semester with the choice to stay in Auburn, study at their rural studio in Alabama’s Hale County or travel abroad to Rome, Italy. (Photos Source // Hannah Cornelius)

For senior Hannah Cornelius, Cullman, Alabama, Auburn’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction Rome studio drove her to choose Auburn.

“It was the only school I toured that had their own abroad program that brought their faculty and was also architecture specific,” Hannah said. “All the other schools had study abroad programs. However, they either weren’t specific to architecture or were through other schools.”

The College of Architecture, Design and Construction began offering their Rome studio to students over 12 years ago. The four-month program is taught by professors from Auburn University, University of Arkansas and three Italian universities.

While abroad, Hannah took three architecture classes.

The first, Architecture of the City, centered on traveling to different monuments, tourist attractions and architecture staples throughout Rome.

“Each week we traveled with our professors and drew the sites. We then analyzed the iconic locations and their structures,” Hannah said.

The next class, Modern and Contemporary Rome, had students study the different neighborhoods that make up Rome’s metropolitan area.

“Rome is divided into tons and tons of different subsections, kind of like the burrows of New York,” Hannah said. “They’ve all developed at different times for different reasons so each week we went and studied a different section and how it came about.”

Lastly, Hannah took a studio focused on the downtown, historic area of Rome.

“In our regular studio we looked at what was already existing and tried to be respectful of that when designing new projects,” Hannah said. “That was similar to a normal studio in America just in a different setting.”

Rather than meet in a standard building, Hannah and her class held their studio class in the Palazzo Taverna, a nearly 2,000-year-old palace.

“It has been there for ages,” Hannah said. “Dignitaries and part of the royalty still live there so you have this cool feeling of being part of history.”

Hannah says having this experience abroad helped expand her creativity and improve her design skills.

“I gained great experience living in a metropolitan city,” Hannah said. “My time there showed me a different approach to design from the rural setting I grew up in.”

During her four months abroad Hannah says she grew both as an architect and student.

“Rome significantly shapes the architecture we build today,” Hannah said. “It was really cool seeing the birthplace of it all and being able to learn in the city center.”

More Information

For more information about the Rome studio visit the College of Architecture, Design and Construction website or their Rome studio website.


Social Media Release: Jingle Bell Jam


Auburn’s University Program Council, or UPC, will hold their annual Jingle Bell Jam on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. The event features holiday-themed activities including hot chocolate, cookie decorating and mugs with student’s pictures on them.


Auburn UPC is one of Auburn’s largest student organizations, putting on nearly 60 free events for Auburn students annually. With events ranging from large scale concerts to cooking workshops, all UPC events are planned, organized and executed by students for students. Composed of 10 committees, Jingle Bell Jam is one of the Tiger Nights Committee’s events and is held annually at the end of the fall semester.

Quick Facts

  • Admission is free when students show their Tiger Card at the door
  • The event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Holiday-themed events include cookie decorating, hot chocolate bar, s’mores and picture printing mugs
  • There will be an indoor ice-skating rink
  • This is a Tiger Nights event under the Tiger Mania category
  • Aubie will be a special guest at Jingle Bell Jam


“This is our 3rd annual Jingle Bell Jam. The event will be full of holiday treats including a s’mores bar, coffee, hot chocolate, and cookie decorating. We are also going to have indoor ice skating which I am the most excited for.” – Sarah Sanders, director of Tiger Nights

“It has been really fun to plan, and we hope the students get to enjoy some fun holiday treats before finals” – Sarah Sanders, director of Tiger Nights



(Photo: UPC’s Logo)


(Photo: Jingle Bell Jam Flyer)






(Photo: Aubie on 2015 mechanical snowboard)


(Photo: Cupcakes from 2015 Jingle Bell Jam)

Social Media & Websites


  • Jingle Bell Jam Event Page –
  • UPC Facebook –


  • UPC Instagram –


  • UPC Twitter –

Relevant Links

  • UPC Blog-
  • UPC Website-


The Ins and Outs of UPC

upc-logoAuburn’s University Program Council, or UPC, is one of Auburn’s largest student organizations, putting on nearly 60 free events for Auburn students annually. (Photo source // UPC Facebook)

With events ranging from large scale concerts to pumpkin carvings to cooking workshops, all UPC events are planned, organized and executed by students for students.

The president of UPC, Catherine Scibetta says the events UPC plans are more than fun events for students.

“It’s about diversifying the student experience and bringing people together in meaningful, memorable ways,” Scibetta said. “We really strive to positively impact the campus climate by educating, empowering, unifying and serving our student body and our members.”

The Committees

UPC is composed of 10 committees along with an executive board. Split into subdivisions of support and planning committees, these ten groups work together to bring the full calendar of events annually.  The committees are:airwaves-croud-300x244

  • Development
  • Films
  • Fine Arts
  • Major
  • Public Relations
  • Publicity
  • Speakers and Comedians
  • Special Projects
  • Tech
  • Tiger Nights

For a detailed description of each committee and their responsibilities, click here(Photo source// UPC Facebook)

UPC Events

Traditionally, UPC’s most popular events are their spring and fall concerts and comedians.

In the past, they have attracted thousands of students to these large-scale events by bringing in big-name artists such as Rae Sremmurd, Ben Rector and John Mulaney.

However, the hidden gems of UPC are their small-scale events because they open-mic-nightbring Auburn students together in close community.(Photo source// UPC Facebook)

Examples of these events are the monthly open mic nights held in the Student Center Starbucks and an exotic petting zoo on the Student Center Greenspace. These bring fun to the everyday life on campus.

For a more information on upcoming events, check UPC’s Facebook.

Ways to get Involved

There are two main avenues to getting involved with UPC – council and committee.

UPC council is composed of directors and assistant directors of each committee and is the more time demanding of the two areas of involvement. Their responsibilities include managing their events and responsibilities as well as their committee members.

Council members attend three meetings a week as well as three office hours for assistant directors and five office hours for directors in the Student Involvement Office.

committee-appsCarter Brown, the director of public relations and a junior majoring in PR says UPC has played a major role in his time in college.

“UPC has really helped me find my place at Auburn,” Brown said. “I’ve been able to gain and practice skills I’ll need in the workforce after graduation while also gaining some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had.”

Applications for UPC council are available in the spring and the position runs a full year.

The second and less demanding form of involvement is a committee position. These positions are filled at the beginning of the fall semester and meet bi-weekly as a committee as well as monthly as a full UPC council.

Committee members support council by helping plan, promote and execute all events put on by their respective committee. (Photo source// UPC Facebook)

More Information

For more information, follow UPC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. To receive push notifications on updated events, download the Auburn Guides app and subscribe to the UPC guide.


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This is Auburn

Auburn’s homecoming weekend

*This article originally appeared in the Corner News*

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn University’s Student Government Association, SGA, and
University Program Council, UPC, have partnered to bring students, alumni and the community an activity-filled homecoming weekend Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. (Photo source: Auburn SGA Facebook Page)

Noteworthy events include the “This is Auburn” speaker series, the homecoming parade and pep rally, a concert featuring Echosmith and the downtown “Brunch and Browse.”

“What the university is trying to do is make homecoming an enticing thing,” said Catherine Scibetta, president of UPC. “Not just for students but for alumni and the community as well.”

The “This is Auburn” speaker series kicks off the weekend’s events on Friday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. in the Auburn Alumni Center and features Bill Hutto, Auburn University Aviation Center and Airport director.

Later that day, the homecoming parade will start at 6 p.m. at the corner of Thach Avenue and South College Street.

Brooke Taylor, SGA’s director of homecoming, says the parade is the perfect way to see what all is happening on Auburn’s campus.

“This year we’re really trying to reach out to other organizations to do a float so that it’s not majority Greek. Inclusion is important to SGA so we want to properly represent the student body,” Taylor said.

The parade will end with a pep-rally at the Gay Street parking lot in addition to a concert put on by UPC.

This year’s concert features opening act White Tie Ensemble and main act Echosmith. The concert will start at 7 p.m. and is free to the public.

“We’ve been working to create an event that works for both the community and the student body,” Scibetta said. “The goal is to make it traditional so that it will be part of the Auburn experience year after year.”

The weekend continues on Saturday, Oct. 1, when the Auburn Tigers play Louisiana-Monroe in Jordan-Hare stadium.

Events for Saturday include a Tailgate inside the Auburn Alumni Center and Auburn’s Tiger Walk.

Homecoming festivities will come to a close on Sunday, Oct. 2, with a downtown “Brunch and Browse” event starting at 10 a.m.

This event allows members of the community and college a chance to eat at participating restaurants while shopping throughout the downtown area.

“I think homecoming is a wonderful opportunity for the students and the community to come together and feel like one Auburn family,” Taylor said.

More Information

For more information about eventshow to get involved  and homecoming traditions visit the Auburn homecoming Website. Also follow SGA and UPC on Facebook for updates throughout the weekend.