BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Athletics not only excelled on the field in 2015-16, with five conference titles and a bowl championship, but it also set new a benchmark off the field through the Hilltoppers with Heart community service program.
Hilltoppers with Heart is designed to give WKU student-athletes, coaches and staff the unique opportunity to make an impact in their community by volunteering their time and talent with numerous organizations. After contributing over 2,000 hours of service in the community in 2014-15, WKU Athletics set the new benchmark for the program in 2015-16 by eclipsing the 3,000 hour mark. Since its inception, the community outreach initiative has now contributed over 9,000 hours of community service.
“A primary goal of WKU Athletics is to have a positive impact in our community by making a meaningful contribution in every way possible,” said Director of Athletics Todd Stewart. “There is no greater endeavor than giving your time to benefit others. We are all fortunate to be a part of a great south central Kentucky community, and I commend our athletes, coaches and administration for their dedication to helping our region.”
Recent volunteer efforts WKU student-athletes and coaches have participated in include the One Shirt, One Body and the Day of Caring campaigns.
One Shirt, One Body is an NCAA wide event created by student-athletes at Notre Dame dedicated to uniting student-athletes and the community by donating gently used clothing items to those in need, specifically through athletic gear.
Boxes were set out in all the team’s locker rooms for players to donate their gently used apparel. The donations were collected and WKU athletes from football, women’s basketball, women’s golf and volleyball handed out the donation to the local kids.
2015-16 marked the fifth year WKU staff and athletes participated in the Day of Caring, a program designed to partner with local non-profit organizations to complete more than 70 projects across the region.
Other notable Hilltoppers with Heart volunteering efforts for the 2015-16 academic year include volleyball’s continued strong participation with the Hope For Harlie foundation, softball’s Big Red Readers initiative and football’s involvement in the Feeding South Florida campaign.
Passport Health Plan, founded in 2011, is the presenting sponsor of Hilltoppers with Heart. Passport Health Plan is designed to give WKU student-athletes, coaches and staff the unique opportunity to make an impact in the community by volunteering time and talent with numerous organizations including The United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs, local schools and many more. Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit, community-based Medicaid health plan that has been contracted with Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to administer Medicaid benefits since 1997. Medicaid members can choose Passport to be their health care provider, and as of June 30, 2014, there are more than 6,300 Passport members living in Region 4, which includes Warren County and the campus of Western Kentucky University.