Wright State student-athletes learned about opportunities in volunteering and community service throughout Dayton at a special luncheon.
The Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement partnered with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to sponsor the luncheon and connect 20 community partners with student-athletes. Student-athletes and coaches from eight sports were represented at the event on Oct. 20 in the Nutter Center Berry Room.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, student-athletes recorded more than 2,400 hours of volunteering and fundraising for various causes. Since August, they have contributed more than 400 volunteer hours.
“You can talk a lot about life skills and learn a lot about lessons in the classroom but going out and applying them to the field really helps people see how useful all that learning really is,” said Kyle Oaks, swimming and diving coach. “A lot of times it’s about perspective. There’s a lot of value in realizing the littlest problems you wake up with that you think is such a drag on your day, those things become very minor and you realize there’s more bigger and important issues in the world.”
Community service is a big part of the Wright State Athletics Department’s LifeSkills Program for both student-athletes and coaches.
“Athletics believes in serving the community and the people who support Wright State so passionately,” said Maigan Larsen, special assistant to the university’s director of athletics who helped facilitate the event. “The luncheon is also a great way for coaches to learn about the needs of the community so they can plan team volunteer events that can truly make a difference.”
When students make time for community service, they develop or enhance their mentoring, tutoring, communication and critical thinking skills, Larsen said.
“Athletes are encouraged to volunteer because it is giving back to the community,” said Libby Pfeffer, a softball player and rehabilitation major. “It’s helping us to become more well-rounded individuals. We always say it’s being good on and off the field.”
Working with Habitat for Humanity, the softball team has built two houses.
“Volunteering makes you more aware of things going on in the Dayton area — not all of the guys on the team are from Dayton,” said Jake Stovall, a senior on the men’s soccer and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “There’s a lot that can be done to help in Dayton that others might not know. … Volunteering makes you more mindful of other things going on.” He has volunteered with the Special Olympics and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.