Athletic department pushes for community service programs

Wesley Crowell – Special to the Southern News 

Community service has become a focal point of the Southern Connecticut Athletic Department; led by Mike Kobylanski, the associate director of athletics and communication.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Southern has made the Presidents Academic Honor Roll in the categories of General Community Service and Education Community Service.

“From an intuitional perspective it’s a great honor for the university,” said Kobylanski. “And I was pleased to see the entire institution and the numerous departments, that have excelled in community service, being recognized cumulatively for the efforts. “

Kobylanksi organizes all of the community service events for student athletes at Southern. He explains that they try to keep a series of events going throughout the year mainly through schools Southern has partnered with in the New Haven and Hamden area.

“Speaking on behalf on the Athletic Department certainly we are extremely proud of our Community Service Cup program,“ said Kobylanski. “We wouldn’t be able to accomplish the tremendous outreach if not for the great support of our student athletes and our coaches.”

Southern athletes have begun a conscious effort to give back to the Greater New Haven community, which has a positive effect on not only the people they are helping but also themselves.

Siddique Haddad-Adams, freshman cornerback on Southern football team, has gone to multiple schools in the New Haven area including Clinton and Beecher Elementary Schools to read to children in the afternoons and said that the experience was something that has really meant a lot to him on a personal level.

“It definitely has benefited me,” said Adams. “I actually liked it, it makes me feel good about myself.”

Adams said the students look up to them because they are athletes and going out and interacting with them gives them a chance to see what they do.  Adams said he always wanted to be more involved in community service, but the programs that Southern’s athletic department offers has made it possible for him to finally give back.

Jose Cruz, senior power forward on Southern’s men’s basketball team, said making a difference in the community was always something he wanted to do too, but never had an opportunity to do it. Cruz said the men’s basketball team runs several clinics throughout the year to help local children improve their playing. This is one of the many ways Southern helps the community.

With the new Athletic Director, Jay Moran, it was going to be challenge to see if Southern could keep up its outstanding contribution to community service.

“Jay’s been a great supporter to everything we’ve been trying to accomplish,” said Kobylanksi. “He’s really still in an evaluation phase in terms of what we offer in that respect, but certainly has been a great proponent and advocate to our student athletes and coaches of emphasizing our community service efforts.”

The owls look to keep their community service efforts up in the years to come through various programs such as the reading to elementary school kids, local clinics, friends of Rudolf.

Kobylanksi said it’s a team effort, they propose various programs to the coaches and athletes but they encourage coaches to come up with any causes or initiatives they would want to be involved in.

“Really it is a joint effort,” Kobylanski said. “In terms of what we present to the coaches and the athletic department and what they will present to us in what they want to get involved in. When you add it all up it’s a pretty successful effort.”



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