Athletes in the community
By Marissa Germann, undergraduate business major
Student athletes keep busy throughout the year by attending classes, practicing and playing games. In addition to their hard work on the court or field, student athletes also participate in local community service projects throughout the year.
“It’s neat to see how much your community gives to you by coming to your sporting events and showing support, so our team is trying to give back to it even more by helping out in the community,” says Dwayne Wall, senior long jump and triple jump participant on the track team. The track team, for example, takes part each year in a big recycling event in Emporia.
According to Wall, people from all over bring their recycling to one location, and the track team sorts it. “We sort things, such as old televisions and furniture, and recycle those and other items. We also help people unload their items. Some team members even drive to houses in the community to help the elderly load their stuff.”
Other sports teams, such as the football team, help out with freshman move-in day in August and help students move their belongings to their new rooms.
Several athletic team members sign autographs for the community’s children. “It’s a good way for us to get to know the children in our community who come to the games,” Wall says.
The volleyball and softball teams also participated in Emporia’s Food for Students program several times during the spring, where the students collect food in the community and deliver it to local elementary schools.
According to Carmen Leeds, senior associate director of athletics, the athletic teams during the Fall 2011 semester contributed more than 1,500 hours of community service.
“Helping in the community is important because it helps put our name out there. It also shows how our work helps those in the community,” Leeds adds. “You’re able to reach out to others to promote your team’s activities, and it can also help increase support for our meets and other athletic events.”
--Excerpted from Emporia State University Student Experience magazine