By Emily Krolewicz
The Coach Brown Memorial Award is presented at the annual Scotty Awards to the team that records the most community service hours per person over the school year. The women’s volleyball team has won the honor three years straight, but that streak was broken this year.
The men’s and women’s cross country team recorded a total of 1,179 hours and won the award this year. As an entire athletic department, the Scots recorded over 4,400 hours of community service.
“We had an increase in hours from last year,” said Student Athlete Advisory Committee Community Outreach Coordinator Madison Smith (’17).
“We jumped from 2,500 hours to 4,400 and I think a lot of that has to do with Sarah Dehring’s new role as assistant athletic director.
“She is able to create new service events and encourage all student athletes to get involved in them.”
These opportunities included Friend of an Athlete and a new partnership with the Special Olympics increased involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay for Life, Autism Awareness and collaborative projects with United Way.
Dehring said that in the coming years she hopes to have each athletic team have affiliation with one non-profit organization or community service event that the entire team can be passionate about and involved in.
“I do not believe that it is important just for student athletes to be involved in community service,” said Dehring, “but that everyone be involved. It just makes you a better person.”
Alex Leja, the women’s volleyball coach, finds pride in the community service work that the athletic department is involved in and hopes to continue to lead the volleyball program in in its involvement in the community.
“To be a student, student-athlete or a faculty/staff member of Alma College is a great privilege,” said Leja.
“To be able to give back to help make a difference in the community around us is so important in understanding just how blessed we truly are.”
Smith said that in her experience at Alma College, community service projects played a big role in keeping her grounded.
“You can get really caught up in workouts, school work and how you’re playing that it’s important to take a step back and realize the opportunities you have to give back and help others,” said Smith.
“Service is a gift that every person can give themselves.”