MAAC Places Nation-High Seven Institutions in Top 25 of NCAA Division I Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition
EDISON, NJ – A total of seven Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) institutional members were named in the nation’s Top 25 NCAA Division I Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition. The MAAC had more members in the Top 25 than any other Division I conference in the nation.
No. 2 Fairfield University, No. 8 Manhattan College, No. 10 Canisius College, No. 13 Rider University, No. 17 Iona College, No. 23 Marist College, and No. 24 Monmouth University make up the seven MAAC institutions in the nation’s Top 25.
“Connecting student-athletes and member schools to their communities highlights the impact of leadership, collaboration and dedication in college sports and cities across the country,” said Victor Hill, NCAA Associate Director of Championships and Community Programs. “NCAA Team Works is proud to recognize the difference student-athletes make beyond the classroom and competition, while also supporting the student-athlete experience and celebrating their success in life through service projects and community engagement.”
Fairfield finished in second place behind two-time winner George Washington University. The Stags tallied a total of 1,011 hours of community service and received 100 percent participation from their student-athletes.
“The fact that a little piece of my time can help a kid's day is really great. It might be something kids remember for a really long time,” said Fairfield Women’s Basketball player Kristine Miller. “It was really awesome! There are no words to express it,” added Fairfield Men’s Basketball Player Jonathan Kasibabu on a recent charity even he took part in.
No. 8 Manhattan finished with over 1,000 hours of community service, while No. 10 Canisius recoded nearly 800 hours.
“Given the high time demands of student-athlete's today, we have limited hours day-to-day for free time. At Manhattan College, I take pride in knowing that our student-athletes dedicate their free hours to giving back to our community! For all that the surrounding community has done for us, it is the least we can do as people in society to give back to those who need it more. Not only is community service fun, but it also teaches our student-athletes the importance of giving, diversity, and putting others before yourself. We as Manhattan College Athletics have grown together as a family through community volunteering and will continue to do so in the coming years!” noted Madison Arndt, Manhattan College SAAC President and NCAA Division I SAAC Representative for the MAAC.
For more information on the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition, visit www.HelperHelper.com.
About Helper Helper:
Helper Helper is a provider of volunteer management software that allows athletic departments to coordinate and track the community service efforts of their student athletes. Helper Helper was founded by former University of Michigan basketball player Krista Clement to simplify the volunteer process for students and in turn, help them create a lasting impact within their communities and themselves.
Goodworks Update April: Canisius College
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Canisius College Sexual Violence Prevention Team (SVPT) has developed a comprehensive program which addresses sexual assault, dating and relationship violence awareness, and stalking behaviors. In 2015 the Step Up! Griffs Peer Education program was developed in the spirit of cura personalis, where upper-class and graduate students encourage first-year students to take care of each other by becoming active bystanders in situations that could lead to sexual assault. This program encourages students to assume personal responsibility when situations could potentially involve into sexual assault.
Canisius recognizes Sexual Violence Awareness Month in April each year when sexual violence prevention education is prominent throughout campus. One of the Griffs' diving student-athletes, Vivian Mroz, is an active member in the SVPT on campus. She has been actively participating in events on campus and helping engage other student-athletes to open their eyes to the issue of sexual violence. Campus initiatives have included a colorful Consent Awareness poster campaign, student signing of Know the Line pledge, Step Up Griffs, One Love events and Stick it to Love. Vivian brings topics she discusses in SVPT meetings to Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meetings and encourages others to join in the initiatives. The student-athletes this year have been apart of the Step Up Griffs video and each team is required to attend One Love Foundation Escalation Workshops throughout the year to learn more about sexual violence, how to be an active bystander, what the issue is and how we as Canisius students can be one’s with and for others every single day.
Members of the Fairfield University Men’s and Women’s basketball programs hosted a clinic at Roosevelt School in Bridgeport, CT, as part of Star 99.9 Radio’s “Star Homeroom” partnership this year. The purpose of the partnership is to expose the 5th grade students to extracurricular activities and get them thinking about their futures and all of the opportunities that exist for them. The student-athletes spoke to the students about dedication, hard work, practice, and the importance of doing well in school as well as performing well on the court.
In preparation for the spring harvest season, a couple of the Fairfield Women’s basketball players assisted the Cardinal Sheehan Center (a Bridgeport, CT after school community center) with their Environment Warriors Cleaning Project. The players helped the group of middle school students to remove all trash from the Center’s grounds, turn beds of soil, extract old plants and weeds, and plant fresh new flowers. It was an awesome opportunity to help the environment as well as interact with students in our community.
Members of the Fairfield Women’s Lacrosse, Tennis, Softball, Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, and Men’s Soccer teams took part in Fairfield’s annual Relay for Life event. The teams set up tables and raised money throughout the course of March and the beginning of April to prepare for the 12-hour relay in Fairfield’s RecPlex. Together, the teams raised $2,140 for the American Cancer Society.
Fairfield's Men’s Lacrosse team visited the Field House in Fairfield to help coach the K-2 and 3-4 grade teams at their first game of the spring season.
The Fairfield Field Hockey program helped prepare and cook food for Operation Hope, an organization that serves the local community kitchen and the neighbors in need.
The Fairfield Women’s Soccer team exchanged pen pal letters with Read School in Bridgeport. The goal was to help the students reach their literacy goals through the exchange of letters. The team then visited to the school to meet their pen pal and have some fun playing kickball.
Fairfield Lacrosse hosted their annual Military Appreciation Day doubleheader to raise money and awareness for the Travis Manion Foundation. T-shirts and door raffle tickets were sold at the game and the teams wore special military gear to honor veterans and active duty service men and women. Together, they raised $2,600 for the Travis Manion Foundation, which “empowers veterans and the families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations”.
Fairfield University Athletics wrapped up their year-long “Herd to a Cure” campaign to benefit the Norma Pfriem Breast Center in Fairfield. This center serves all women affected by breast cancer, no matter what their financial state. Director of Athletics Gene Doris and VP for Marketing and Communications Jenn Anderson presented 2 Fairfield University alumni and breast cancer survivors, along with members of the Norma Pfriem Breast Center board, with a check for $1,920. The actual check will total more than $2,000, with the addition of more t-shirt sales and donations at the last men’s lacrosse game.
Student-athletes from the Women’s Basketball team participated in the annual “Walk a Mile in her Shoes” event in Fairfield, which is a walk to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence.
Iona Softball hosted both kids day and cancer awareness day at Rice Oval on the 22nd and 23rd, respectively. On kids day, ICSB ran out with little leaguers on the field for the national anthem then played two games while they watched. Following the contest, they players signed autographs for the kids. On cancer awareness day, ICSB wore pink to honor those lives who have been taken and those who are sill battling breast cancer. The team has a special connection to this, and are very passionate about raising awareness and money for a better tomorrow.
On April 20, the Iona College Track and Field team traveled to Chatham, New York to volunteer their services to Sean’s Run, a charity 5k run and community event.
The annual Sean’s Run is organized as a memorial event to Sean French, a local runner who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2002. The event aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and driving under the influence of other substances. Through charities, Sean’s Run also provides grants for prevention programs in the area, and scholarships for deserving students to pursue higher education.
More recently, the event has supported the family of Senior, and Chatham native, Ross Wightman, whose sister was diagnosed with leukemia last year. The family have been long-time supporters of Sean’s Run and the 2016 edition raised awareness for the family. The Wightman family have been great advocates and supporters of Iona’s Cross Country and Track programs, so this event was particularly significant to the Gaels.
The event has added importance to the team, as Associate Head-Coach Joe Pienta was a friend of Sean French, having shared a friendly local rivalry over Cross Country and Track during High School.
The Gaels arrived in Chatham prior to the start of the event, charged with marking out parts of the course of the 5k and children’s 1 mile fun-run, directing traffic, as well as helping the food tent and decorating the finishing area with banners and balloons. The day began with fine clear skies as cars pulled up greeted by Student-Athletes and a large number of balloons, whilst some Gaels buttered and ‘cream-cheesed’ hundreds of bagels for the finishers of the race.
The children’s ‘Megan’s Mile’ began just as rain started to fall. A number of Iona students lined the course directing the runners braving ever-increasing precipitation and impending thunder.
The inclement weather caused the main 5k, ‘Sean’s Run’ to be delayed by 30 minutes, before being cancelled entirely due to lighting which would have been dangerous with numerous tents and some electrical equipment in the race area. Nonetheless, student-athletes assisted in transporting food from the tents inside for participants to enjoy.
Senior Ross Wightman said of the day’s events: “It meant a lot to me and my family that the team could all come and support this event. It is something that we have always been a part of, and to give back by volunteering here was really important to me”. Junior Alex Carter agreed that the event was a great way to volunteer: “Although the weather was a highly unfortunate occurrence, we all showed great spirits and were still able to aid the organizers. I hope that the team continue to support a charity event such as Sean’s Run; it is for an important cause”. Freshman Gemma Nuttall enthusiastically stated the event was “marvelous, I can’t wait to help next year”.
The Iona College Women's Swim Team participated in Relay for Life from Saturday, April 8 – Sunday, April 9. Relay for Life consists of a 12-hour event where members of each relay team are expected to walk around the track at all times and also run a fundraising table to raise extra money throughout the night. The women’s swim team was able to raise $1,425 for the cause to help with the event’s total of over $89,000.
Not only did the athletes participate in these activities, but freshman Ashley Cave also donated eight inches of her hair to those in need. Ashely Cave described donating her hair as a “cool and rewarding experience” and it was “a good feeling to know that someone that needs the hair is going to get it.” This is the first time the women’s swim team participated in this event as a collective team, but they are planning to make this a yearly team tradition. Freshman, Jamie Swenton commented, “My first experience at Relay for Life was very uplifting. It was amazing how many people came together to support the same cause and take their time to focus on something so big.”
The Iona College division of Colleges Against Cancer works hard every year to host the best Relay for Life possible. This year they were able to raise about $20,000 more than the previous year’s total. The Women's Swim Team very much enjoyed participating for this event and can’t wait to see how their involvement in Relay for Life continues to grow in the coming years.
The Iona College Women’s Soccer program volunteered at the institutions latest Midnight Run service project. The student-athletes met at the Montgomery House where they organized clean clothes, eating supplies, and bagged lunches to bring into the city.
The material donations are just one small element of what makes the Midnight Run program so beneficial for all volunteers. Junior Christine Rebus explains, “"My experience was inspiring and life changing, hearing everyone's stories really made me appreciate all that I am fortunate to have"
Senior Emily Hansen preaches how the event is one everyone should know of: “I believe everyone should go on at least one midnight run while here at Iona, after an experience like such you're able to appreciate how fortunate you really are. It allows you to look at life from different lenses and realize how appreciative the homeless were for our help.”
The Iona College mission and ministry program hosts the Midnight Run service project once a month. It is a great experience and a very enjoyable community service project
On April 2, over 150 Marist student-athletes and over 100 Special Olympians got together to hold their annual Special Olympics. The event featured a full basketball tournament with 3 different divisions, basketball skills activities, and swimming events. The student-athletes assisted with running the scoreboard for the basketball games, recording scores for the basketball skills, and cheering on the Olympians during the swimming events. The student-athletes ended the day by presenting awards to each of the Olympians in attendance.
The Marist Center for Student-Athlete Enhancement, Family Services of Poughkeepsie, and the Marist Football program partnered this April to hold their annual White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women. The day featured a film and discussion about being conscious of the language people use, which was open to all faculty, staff, and students at Marist. Following these activities, the Football program led a walk around campus which included a stop in the campus green for members of the team to make statements pledging their commitment to the campaign and its mission.
On April 30, members of the Marist Women’s Soccer team partnered with the Newburgh Armory Unity Center to host a chess tournament at Marist. The student-athletes have been visiting the NAUC every Saturday this semester to work with the youth in the area and play games. This event will serve as a culmination and celebration of the time they have spent together this semester. The NAUC is located in Newburgh, New York and serves the youth of the area through educational and recreational programming.
The Quinnipiac softball team will host a fundraiser in support of the "Fight Against DIPG" in memory of Danni Kemp during its home doubleheader on Tuesday, Apr 11 at the QU Softball Field.
DIPG, also known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, is highly aggressive and creates difficulty to treat brain tumors found at the base of the brain. DIPG is what claimed the life of Kemp, a native of Milford, Connecticut and student-athlete at Stony Brook University.
"This past year, the softball community lost one of its strongest fighters when Danni Kemp lost her battle to brain cancer," QU Softball head coach Jill Karwoski said. "In a short amount of time, Danni made a positive impact on so many of us, including our Bobcat family. Our team has rallied and is committed to help find a cure for DIPG. Because of her fight, we will always be #DanniStrong."
The Bobcats held a fundraiser prior to the season for Kemp to help raise awareness and funds for her DanniStrong and DingersForDanni campaigns, which contributed funds for Kemp's procedures for an inoperable brain tumor at the time.
Senior Kat Vitale (Cheshire, Connecticut) and Casey Herzog (Wappinger Falls, New York) helped organize the #DingersForDanni campaign on campus, which contributed to the GoFundMe account that helped raise nearly $132,000 for Kemp.
The softball team asks that fans and supporters wear blue ribbons in support of the fundraiser, which will take place during Quinnipiac's doubleheader at home against Sacred Heart at 3 p.m. There will be a bake sale where fans and supporters can purchase baked goods in exchange for donations.
The Quinnipiac Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the second annual 'Bobcats Off Broadway' on the night of Monday, April 24 in Burt Kahn Court. Every team participated in the talent show that was ultimately won by the women's volleyball team.
The annual talent show featuring the Quinnipiac student-athletes was reformatted last year as SAAC decided multiple participants from each team should be involved in the performance. In years prior, the competition has been called 'Mr. & Mrs. Bobcat' which featured solo performances with one male and one female winner.
Several highlights from the annual talent show included women's soccer with an opening dance routine featuring glow sticks. Men's cross country performed an original piece with Ryan Ansel on vocals, last year's winner women's ice hockey claimed the runner-up finish with another resounding team dance routine and the women's volleyball team won the night with their Justin Beiber themed dance number.
SAAC is comprised of two representatives from each sport on campus and has a goal of strengthening the relationship between Quinnipiac's student-athletes and the Quinnipiac community. Throughout the year, SAAC has organized tailgates prior to home games, career building workshops and brought guest speakers to campus that range a gambit of topics relating specifically to the life of a student-athlete in college.
Donations were made throughout the night to support the Best Buddies of Connecticut organization. The donations for the evening totaled close to $500 which will all go towards the Best Buddies group that QU Athletics has aligned with for the 2016-17 season.
On April 8, Siena College Field Hockey went to the Ronald McDonald House. There they cooked dinner for the families at the house.