Student-athletes were able to form a sense of community between their athletic teams and the city of Philadelphia by wearing red-and-white-striped socks, said Lea Millio, a senior history major and secretary of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
As part of the Show Your Stripes campaign, student-athletes broke out their striped socks and wore them around Main Campus on Oct. 14. Student-athletes could purchase a striped scarf, tie or pair of socks for $10. Proceeds went to the Ronald McDonald House, an international organization that houses families of children who are seriously ill and staying in Philadelphia hospitals.
The teams involved in the campaign raised $1,630, roughly tripling last year’s donation, said Jessica Gray, the compliance and student athlete affairs coordinator.
Millio said the increase in participants was largely due to social media.
“Putting out the pictures for all the student-athletes to see really encouraged the other teams to join in,” Millio said.
Briana Odom, a senior psychology major and gymnastics representative for SAAC, said the Show Your Stripes event served as “a conversation starter” among student-athletes.
“It’s a fun way that we can raise money, but we can also bring awareness to what we’re doing it for,” Odom said. “The big thing is when we wear them around they want people to come up and ask you … and then we can reinforce [the campaign].”
“The message behind it and the mission of Ronald McDonald House is something that anybody could want to be a part of and support,” Gray said. “It’s really easy to just buy a pair of socks and it’s bigger than just buying a pair of socks.”
Junior sociology major and rowing representative for SAAC Ciara O’Sullivan said that an event like Show Your Stripes creates a community between everyone involved in athletics.
“It’s really fun because a lot of the advisers and the strength and conditioning staff and the athletic trainers, everyone else would get involved too,” O’Sullivan said.
“You can pick out who’s a student athlete because they’re wearing the socks,” said sophomore social work major and gymnastics team member Breahna Wiczkowski. “It’s a fun way to interact with people you might not always talk to in your classes or just see around campus. And when it’s two or more people wearing the same socks in class, people are more likely to ask what’s going on.”
SAAC brought Show Your Stripes, along with several other fundraisers and community service opportunities, to the student-athletes’ attention.
O’Sullivan called SAAC “the connecting point between teams and the administration.”
“We really push to get our student-athletes in the community. … It’s like this big umbrella of SAAC,” Odom said. “We do so many things, our meetings are like two hours long sometimes. We do community service, we do student athlete affairs, and we also try to reach out to the general population of this campus.”
Gray said the Ronald McDonald House is “near and dear to [her] heart.”
“I’ve always been familiar with Ronald McDonald House being a local Philadelphian, and I know I’ve had friends and family members who have had to use the resources,” Gray said. “I really just think it’s great to support a local organization that obviously has an expansive reach.”
The connection between athletics and the Ronald McDonald House does not end at wearing funny socks. Millio said she and other members of the rowing team get to be “guest chefs” and prepare and serve meals for the families using the facilities at the Ronald McDonald House.
“[The families] are all really happy they have food made for them, especially by a group of people they don’t know, and they’re very thankful and it’s very meaningful for us,” Millio said.
O’Sullivan highlighted the importance of the continuous relationship between the Ronald McDonald House and the rowing team at Temple.
“It’s so important to bring attention to [the house] and all the good work that they do,” O’Sullivan said.
“For you to be able to go to Ronald McDonald House and interact with those children and those families on that level,” Gray said. “And then be able to go to Shriners and decorate the kids lounge for Halloween, and then go talk to a veteran at the Veterans Affairs Office, you’re getting a lot of different experiences.”
Devon Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.