Savonte’s start at UGA didn’t quite match his enthusiasm. He arrived in Athens the Saturday before classes started, giving him two days to figure out campus. This led to a frantic Monday morning.
“I could’ve walked 10 minutes to my class, but I got on an Orbit bus and didn’t know that meant ‘orbit,’ as in ‘going around the whole world,’” said Savonte.
This led to a late arrival to his first class. He went to eat lunch afterwards at Joe Frank Harris Dining Commons, and as he entered, a volunteer from the Christian campus ministry Georgia Navigators, or Navs, introduced himself.
“I felt that was God showing up in the midst of all my anger and frustration, and I knew I wanted my faith to grow, so I said yes and signed up to join Navs,” said Savonte.
But shortly after that encounter, another transportation misstep led to one more late arrival and a disappointing first day. As he tried to find his way back to his residence hall later that night, Savonte was kicking himself.
“As I’m walking, just looking down, something told me to look up,” said Savonte. “And when I looked up, I was at Wesley Foundation. I thought, ‘I guess I’m supposed to be here.’”
That night, Wesley, a college ministry, happened to be hosting a freshman-focused service, and Savonte connected with several of the organization’s leaders. According to Savonte, that was a turning point: “That changed my whole perspective, and gave me a good outlook for the whole year.”
Now, Savonte is involved in an impressive list of activities in Athens: Wesley Foundation, Navs, Christian Campus Fellowship, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, African American Choral Ensemble, Brightstone Productions, the UGA Club Cross Country team, and he even works the 6 a.m. shift at Snelling Dining Hall.