June 28, 2018
CLEVELAND – The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the Fiesta Bowl have selected the three finalists for the 2018 Community Service Award. The announcement was made at the 53rd Annual NACDA Convention in Washington, D.C.
The Community Service Award will be presented in the fall, at an on-campus event hosted by the winning institution. The award recognizes NACDA member institutions in Division I and honors exceptional athletics departments that make volunteerism and community service a way of life. A five-person committee consisting of athletics directors across the country and representatives from the Fiesta Bowl and NACDA will help choose this year's award winner.
The finalists for the Community Service Award are:
- Providence College
- Towson University
- University of Southern California
The winning institution, to be announced later this summer, will receive a trophy for permanent display and $10,000 for its chosen charity.
"It's inspiring to see athletics programs instilling community service into the student-athlete experience, providing benefits for student-athletes and the communities they serve," said Fiesta Bowl Executive Director, Mike Nealy. "The Fiesta Bowl is built around a year-round commitment to organizations that support youth, sports and education. We're honored to partner with NACDA and support institutions that excel within their communities."
"We received a record number of applications for the Fiesta Bowl Community Service Award, and it is not surprising given the high importance placed on community service in the overall college experience for today's student-athletes," said NACDA Executive Director, Bob Vecchione. "It is extremely rewarding to gain insight into the tireless efforts of these young men and women who, in addition to their commitments as students, make serving others a priority in their campus communities."
Below are descriptions of the three initiatives that earned these institutions recognition as finalists for the Community Service Award.
In 2017-18, there were 332 participants out in the community representing the Providence College (PC) Friars, putting in a total of 2,060 community service hours. In total, they raised $28,880 for various charitable organizations for the academic year. Specifically, the swimming and diving team raised more than $22,000 for Swim Across America to benefit cancer research. Many of the teams also assisted with Rhode Island Special Olympics events. PC's participation in the Walking School Bus program is another integral piece of the Friars' community service efforts. The Walking School Bus is run by the Family Service of Rhode Island, working to promote health, safety and decrease chronic absenteeism for students who might otherwise not have transportation to school. The Providence student-athletes are there to make sure the students who are not provided busses arrive to school safely. The experience adds value not only to the surrounding areas and youth, but to the PC student-athletes themselves.
Towson Athletics has completed 12,975 hours of community service for the 2017-18 school year. This is the sixth consecutive year of achieving 10,000 or more hours of community service. The economic impact of the six consecutive years of community service has an estimated value of $1,339,000. One of the primary causes supported this year was Autism Awareness. Towson co-sponsored a “Focus on Autism” workshop with the College of Liberal Arts, Pathfinders Autism and the Office of Disability, where three head coaches who have children with autism of varying degrees shared their experience and journey in a panel discussion format. The workshop was held during the same week as a lead-up to the Men’s Basketball Autism Awareness Game, which also featured a number of Autism Awareness organizations. The men’s basketball team also hosted a free basketball clinic for members of the Hussman Center for Adults on campus, which serves autistic adults in the community.
University of Southern California
For the 2017-18 academic year alone, University of Southern California’s (USC) Trojan Outreach has worked diligently with 650 student-athletes who are on track to complete 5,000 hours of service to a myriad of causes. All 21 varsity sports participated through a signature event or SCORE (Serving Community through Outreach, Recreation and Education) project, or both. Because of the challenges facing the youth of Los Angeles, Trojan Outreach has been able to find unique angles to serve, utilizing an understanding of major social issues. One of the biggest issues facing the Los Angeles area is homelessness. In response to the declaration and observation of the community, Trojan Outreach has successfully completed over 1,000 hours in the past year that directly impacts the homeless population.
About the Fiesta Bowl: The Fiesta Bowl’s vision is to be a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans. As a nonprofit organization, it believes in the importance of community outreach and service. Through charitable giving, the organization strives to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of communities through youth, sports and education. Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl has worked to increase its footprint across the state and work to benefit Arizonans year-round, during and outside of bowl season. For more information about its local impact and how to get involved, visit FiestaBowl.org.
About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 53rd year, is the professional and educational Association for more than 15,700 college athletics administrators at more than 1,700 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 6,500 athletics administrators annually attend NACDA & Affiliates Convention Week. Additionally, NACDA manages 17 professional associations and three foundations. For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com.