Members of the Hartford women's basketball team pose for a photo with a patient from the local children's hospital.
Members of the Hartford women's basketball team pose for a photo with a patient from the local children's hospital.
Courtesy: America East Communications

America East Student-Athletes Active in the Community

Release: 12/20/2012
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – America East schools made their mark on the community during this holiday season. Campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) as well  as school athletic departments coordinated a number of events throughout the month of December in an effort to spread holiday cheer.
University at Albany student-athletes participated in the Adopt-a-Family Program this holiday season, shopping for and wrapping presents to be delivered to a family in need. The football team at Albany also teamed up with Dr. Robert Paeglow at the Koinonia Clinic to visit with and assist young children and their families. Read more about Albany's community service here.

Throughout the months of November and December, the Binghamton University SAAC has partnered with Soles4Souls, a charity which collects new or gently worn shoes for the less fortunate around the world. A tentative goal of 2,500 pairs of shoes was set and donations are accepted at all home basketball games during the two month span. To help raise awareness for the project, both basketball coaches volunteered to coach a game shoeless. Women’s coach Nikki Scholl went barefoot on Dec. 10 versus Niagara while men’s coach Tommy Dempsey will take his turn on Dec. 30 against Cornell. In addition, the Binghamton women’s basketball team also took part in the Adopt-a-Family Program in conjunction with the Salvation Army. Read about both initiatives (Soles4Souls, Adopt-a-family) on Binghamton's website.

More than 300 Boston University student-athletes visited public schools around the city of Boston in a two-day event held on Dec. 13 and 14. An event that has been going on for the past 16 years, the Holiday Reading Program reached over 800 young students this year. Terrier student-athletes read to students at these schools and each child received a book purchased by the university. In addition to giving a book for each child, Boston U. also donated a book for the teacher’s permanent collection and presented elementary school students and administrators with vouchers for free tickets to Terrier athletic events. Read more about this event here.

The University of Hartford SAAC held its semi-annual coat drive on Dec. 16 to benefit Button-Up Connecticut. The Hawks had their sights set on breaking the record of 86 coats set in 2010 by collecting when the women’s basketball team hosted Quinnipiac. The Hartford women’s basketball team also spent a morning visiting with children from the local Children’s Hospital. Click here to read a story from Hartford's website.

The University of Maine SAAC sponsored a Toys for Tots collection this year at Black Bear men’s hockey and basketball games on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 6. The university also held a teddy bear toss at the Nov. 30 men’s hockey game, encouraging fans to bring new or gently used stuffed animals for donation. Fans threw the teddy bears out onto the ice for collection during the first intermission. Here is the recap from Maine's website.

UMBC participated in a handful of community outreach events throughout the semester. One of the highlights of these efforts was the $1,000 raised by 15 members of the women's basketball team to benefit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to benefit breast cancer awareness and research. The women's basketball team and the swimming and diving team also recently worked with Students United for Campus Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success (SUCCESS). The SUCCESS program let young adults with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to experience a college campus and gain employment opportunities. In addition, many UMBC student-athletes have made visits to local elementary and middles school to talk with and read to young students.

The University of New Hampshire Athletic Department ran its annual five-day toy drive earlier this month. Gifts were collected at multiple Wildcat athletic events over the five-day span and those donations were supplemented by the efforts of more than 200 student-athletes who donated 120 gifts and $300 at the annual SAAC Holiday Social. Benefits from these efforts go to Toys for Tots as well as the UNH Wildcat Santa Program, which has helped local families, fire departments and homeless shelters since 1990. Click here to read more.

Stony Brook University student-athletes donated their time to many families in need this holiday season. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the annual Bethpage Turkey Drive expanded to support relief efforts and many Seawolves answered the call. In addition, the Stony Brook SAAC collected over 750 food items that were donated to the Red Cross for Sandy relief. More recently, the Seawolves brought gifts to children at the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Athletic Director Jim Fiore was joined by a team of student-athletes and Wolfie the Seawolf as they spent the day with patients. Here are the releases from the food drives (Bethpage, SAAC) and here is a story from the Village Patch about the visit to the Cancer Center.

The University of Vermont has been working on a pair of initiatives to benefit the local community this month. The annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company is sponsored by both the men’s and women’s hockey teams. The women have already held their toss, collecting 80 bears for donation. The men will host their toss on Dec. 30 and then players from both teams will visit the children’s hospital and two local nursing homes on Jan. 7 to deliver the bears. Additionally, Vermont Athletics has also sponsored the Rally for Warmth drive throughout the month. Fans can donate an item of warm clothing at any home basketball game or men’s hockey game. The Catamounts also hosted the Skate with the Cats event this past Sunday. Fans were encouraged to bring a donation for the Rally for Warmth drive. Read more here.

Click here for a video of Vermont's Skate with the Cats event.

Click here for a video of Stony Brook's Turkey Drive.

Click here for a video of Hartford's visit to the Connecticut Children's Hospital.