Student-athletes key in on giving back to the community

Matt GadSports Writer

Throughout the year, many student-athletes participate in community service, either on their own or with their respective teams. It is part of the push for student-athletes to not just excel in competition but also in the classroom and out in the community.

On Saturday, at “The Big Event,” a campus-wide community service day where students cleaned up local communities, men’s basketball freshman Will Antrum, who grew up in New Haven and attended Wilbur Cross High School, said he was happy to give back to the community which gave so much to him in the past.

“It makes me feel good to do stuff like this in the community where I grew up,” he said. “Some people give back to the needy so I gotta give back to other people.”

Amanda Murray, a redshirt freshman on women’s lacrosse team, who grew up in Bow, N.H and excelled in academics and also played soccer and basketball, said her team has done a number of community service initiatives in giving back and bonding over the Greater New Haven area.

“As a lacrosse team, we give back to the community by donating clothes and school supplies and helping at local soup kitchens,” she said.

Many teams have specific things that they may choose to volunteer for. For example, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field ran the annual Bob Corda 5K during Homecoming Weekend and the football team holds an annual Bone Marrow Donor Drive every April in the Adanti Student Center. Some of them also volunteer at Tim Tebow’s Night To Shine event, where special needs individuals are able to get to enjoy a prom experience.

“Night To Shine is the most amazing event I’ve ever been a part of because you put everything in your life aside to dedicate a few hours to nothing else but making someone else’s night so special,” football redshirt freshman, quarterback Matt Sapere said. “It’s an event that is way bigger than one’s self and it puts a lot of things in perspective.”

Like A Night To Shine, not all these community service efforts need to involve cleaning up a neighborhood or helping to feed the less fortunate. Murray said she and her teammates spent spring break this year teaching high schoolers how to play lacrosse.

“We went to local schools and did clinics to help teach them college lacrosse drills and understanding the recruiting process,” she said. “We did drills and taught them new skills.”

The area schools where the team went to provide instruction included Daniel Hand High School, in Madison, where new head coach Kevin Siedlecki used to teach and coach at, Norwalk High School and Hamden High School.

“[Community service] is a great way to represent yourself and everything you want to be apart of,” Sapere said. “You feel accomplished knowing that you touched someone’s life in ways other people may not have been able to.”

Each year, student-athletes, either individually or with their respective teams, contribute many hours to various community service programs around the state, specifically in the Greater New Haven community, and in the past some teams have even received teamwide recognition for such efforts.

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