By Katie Carew

Student-athletes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, do more than just participate in their sports. Giving back to the community is a huge priority.  The Pepsi Good Works Challenge is a competition between all ten schools in the MAAC.  When athletic teams give back to the community, they submit proof of their efforts to the MAAC to gain points for the challenge.  According to the rules, schools will earn 1 point for every hour that 1 volunteer has worked.  The winning institution at the end of the spring semester will win $1,000 from Pepsi to give to whatever charity the institution chooses.

The MAAC hopes that by creating this program more student-athletes would be more likely to give back to the community.  For some members of the MAAC, they said it’s a great way for smaller schools to be recognized in something other than athletics.  Here are some things that the MAAC institutions’ are doing: St. Peter’s University boxed food at a local food bank; Canisius College volunteered with Habitat for Humanity remodeling a house; Iona College sponsored Breast Cancer Awareness Week on their campus by selling raffles tickets and bracelets to raise money for the cause.  Also, Rider University volunteered at the Special Olympics Bowling Competition.  There are many more! If you want to check them out, go to www.maacsports.com.  So far there have been over 190 submissions from the MAAC institutions displaying good work in the community.

 At my institution, Siena College, our SAAC wanted to do something special for National Student-Athlete Day, to celebrate with all athletics teams, and the surrounding community.  We decided to host a Student-Athlete Talent Show to raise money for the Special Olympics.  Each varsity team was represented on stage throughout the night performing acts anywhere from piano playing to a glow stick light show.  Everyone had a great laugh, and we raised about $850 for the Special Olympics!  But we brought that tally up to $1,000 after Siena SAAC’s First Annual Easter Egg Hunt.  Siena SAAC invited children up to age 12 to campus for an afternoon of fun.  Children took part in the egg hunt, as well as, egg and spoon races, and other activities.  The children, parents, and student-athletes all enjoyed the afternoon together. 

It’s really important that we remember to help those around us.  The surrounding communities of our institutions give our athletics teams support.  Every now and then it’s nice to do something for those people.  And giving back to the community doesn’t have to be in the form of a check, but it can be in the form of laughter and friendship.  I hope this gives you ideas for you and your school to help give back to your community! 

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