IOWA CITY, Iowa — On one day for each of the past 18 years, University of Iowa student-athletes have come together to give back to the Iowa City and Coralville communities.
The annual initiative is tabbed as the UI’s “Day of Caring.” It’s a program of the Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee (ISACC), whose goal is to encourage community service among its teams and individuals.
“This day is incredible,” said Alyssa Klostermann, who was stationed at Good Shepard Center along with her volleyball teammates April 24. “It’s where the entire athletics department goes out into the community and gives back. It is great because you hear it day-in and day-out, Hawkeye nation is the best across the country.
“This is a day we can give back to the fans that give to us.”
Student-athletes have participated in the Day of Caring activities for the past 17 years, but it is just one of many community service activities that UI student-athletes participate in throughout the year.
Iowa student-athletes were dispersed at 20 different agencies around the community from the Iowa City Public Works to Habitat for Humanity to the Salvation Army. Tasks included spring clean-up to painting at the Crisis Center of Johnson County.
“Our team was split into two groups,” said women’s soccer senior Rachele Armand. “One group did gardening, and my group painted a room at the crisis center. It was nice being in a non-athletic atmosphere and going back out into the community.
“We went to work and let loose a little bit. Everyone started to paint each other, and we had a little fun while doing the project. It was a great experience.”
The Hawkeyes were grateful for the opportunity to assist the community.
“These are the people that support us,” said Alexa Kastanak, a rising senior on the UI women’s basketball team. “It’s nice to be able to give back to them as well.”
“This Day of Caring is a great deal,” said Levi Paulsen, a redshirt freshman on the UI football team. “We have all the athletics teams trying to make a difference in the community.”
“This is an awesome idea and opportunity to go out and support the community,” said Armand. “For all the things they do for us, it’s nice to be able to do a little something in return. These are the people that support us; it’s big to return the favor.”
The deed doesn’t go unnoticed.
“This event shows how committed the (athletics department) is to the community,” said Jeff Kellback, director at Pathways Adult Healthcare Center. “Every year we have them out here and it’s wonderful. They do a great job.”