(INDIANAPOLIS) – Twenty-four schools and one conference have been named finalists for the 2017 Division II Award of Excellence, an accolade recognizing positive campus and community engagement events hosted during the past year. Walsh University has been selected as the finalist for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference for its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
Members of the Walsh University athletic teams used their day off of classes on Monday, January 18, 2016, for Martin Luther King Day to give back to the community. A total of 167 student-athletes and coach volunteers accumulated 474.75 community services hours that day at nine different sites.
The sites included: the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon, Louisville YMCA, North Canton YMCA, Stark Parks, Stark Fresh, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Our Lady of Peace Catholic School, Rose Lane Nursing Home, and St. Luke’s Assisted Living Community. As part of the University-wide day of service, Walsh University doubled the goal of 1,100 hours of service, with over 2,200 hours served by 470 volunteers.
“It is a great honor to be recognized as a finalist for this award and validates our commitment to community service and student-athletes being positive role models in our community which are both integral parts of the NCAA Division II philosophy,” said Sara Pratt, Assistant Athletic Director Athletic Compliance Officer/Senior Woman Administrator. “Although our athletic teams volunteer throughout the year, having one day that has so much impact on the area is a rewarding experience for all involved and is something our student-athletes and coaches look forward to every year.”
Walsh Athletics is once again planning its Day of Service for the holiday this year. As of now, over 200 student-athletes have pledged to contribute their time.
Each year, Division II selects one finalist from each conference and one independent representative to be recognized for events that exemplify any of the six Division II attributes: learning, balance, resourcefulness, sportsmanship, passion and service. Each finalist will receive $500.
This year’s finalists hosted events that honored members of the military, benefited local youth, assisted people with disabilities, raised money for positive causes and more.
Two runner-up recipients and one overall winner will be announced during the Division II Business Session at the 2017 NCAA Convention on Jan. 21 in Nashville, Tennessee. The winner will receive $1,500 and a nationally televised football or basketball game during the 2017-18 season. The first runner-up will receive $1,250, and the second runner-up will receive $1,000. All prize money is expected to be used on future community engagement initiatives.