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GSU student chosen to carry Olympic torch
Winter Games open Feb. 12 in Vancouver, Canada
Olympics Logo for Web
    The Winter Olympics will have a bit of local flavor when the games open next year in Vancouver, Canada.
    Crystal Hardy, a sophomore at Georgia Southern, was selected to help carry the Olympic Torch as it crisscrosses Canada. Hardy will carry the torch on January 18 in the city of Calgary.
    Hardy, who is majoring in American Sign Language/Interpretation, was chosen by torch relay sponsor Coca-Cola for the honor because of her volunteer work in several areas, including environmental sustainability. Hardy co-founded the Laurens County Green Teens in her hometown of Dublin, Ga., and is active in recycling and sustainability efforts at Georgia Southern.
    “I hope this honor allows the things that I've done for others and for the environment to shine,” Hardy said.  “Its such an honor to go on to represent everyday champions of positive living, and  hopefully my story will inspire others to give back in any way they can.”
    Hardy is one of only 20 from the United States chosen by The Coca-Cola Company to carry the Olympic torch as an example of positive living. Others include U.S. Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson (Women's Gymnastics) and Steven Lopez (Taekwondo). The games begin Feb. 12, 2010 in the western Canadian city of Vancouver.
    Hardy's efforts with the Laurens County Green Teens led to a recycling program at area schools. PET 1 bottles were collected, recycled, and used to manufacture carpet. Money raised from the recycling went back to schools in the Dublin and Laurens County area.  
    Hardy also organized a community-wide volunteer project. Under Hardy's guidance, more than 150 volunteers tore down an old playground and re-built a new one at a Laurens County shelter for abused women and their children. In addition to re-building the playground equipment, Hardy's group water-stained the wooden fences, built a rain shelter, and put together several sitting benches.
    At Georgia Southern, Hardy has volunteered for the massive campus re-lamping project where traditional incandescent bulbs are being switched to energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly CFL's.  Hardy also volunteers during Georgia Southern home football games to collect items for recycling that might normally be thrown away after tailgating.
    “At Georgia Southern University, we work everyday to teach our students how important it is to be a part of the global community and to give back to others,” said Teresa Thompson, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We are so proud that Crystal's outstanding contributions to society and the environment are being recognized on the world stage.”
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