For Immediate Release—Monday, January 8, 2007
Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
SUNY Geneseo Receives National Student-Athlete Community Service Award Today During the NCAA Convention
GENESEO, N.Y.—The State University of New York at Geneseo today was one of 18 colleges and universities in the nation to receive a prestigious community service award during the 2007 NCAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., in recognition of the college's annual student-athlete leaf-raking project that assists senior citizens.
The National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) /Josten's Community Service Award recognizes impressive community service performed by student-athletes during the 2005-06 academic year. Marilyn Moore, director of athletics for Geneseo, accepted the Award of Merit for On-Going Project/Activity on behalf of the college.
Geneseo was the only college or university in New York state, public or private, to receive one of the awards. The NADIIIAA is comprised of athletic administrators from the 437 institutions and 40 conferences competing at the NCAA Division III level. The award is co-sponsored by Jostens, which produces a variety of products including athletic items, class rings and yearbooks and is the exclusive sponsor of the NADIIIAA.
"The leaf-raking project is just one way for our student-athletes to demonstrate their appreciation for the support they receive from the Geneseo community," said Moore. "Helping our senior citizens is a gratifying experience and one the Blue Knights look forward to each fall."
In 1991, Moore launched the leaf-raking project with 30 student-athlete volunteers who raked a handful of homes, said George Gagnier, sports information director for Geneseo. In 1995, Gagnier took over the volunteer effort, which has continually grown throughout the years. On Nov. 5, 2006, 233 athletes from all of the college's 20 athletic teams spent several hours raking leaves at more than 55 homes, he said.
"George has done an excellent job coordinating this project; purchasing rakes and tarps, making sure houses are assigned and supervising our student-athletes," Moore noted.
In 2005, the State University of New York Athletic Conference was so impressed with Geneseo's leaf-raking project that it fit the bill for a statewide initiative. In the 2006 SUNYAC statewide sweep, 1,530 student-athletes participated in clearing 322 sites, which was 200 more athletes and 150 more sites than the previous year.
"It's important for the student-athletes to give back to the community where they are going to school," said Gagnier. "When they show up to these houses, they understand what this means to these people because the community responds so positively to them when they show up at the house."
Last year, the Lowe's home improvement store chain donated $100 to Geneseo so the college could buy supplies, said Gagnier. The college owns about 45 rakes and a dozen tarps but could use more, as the student-athletes who now volunteer far outnumber the rakes, he said.
Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible monetary donation in support of these community projects may send donations to Intercollegiate Athletics, c/o the Geneseo Foundation, SUNY Geneseo, Erwin 202, 1 College Circle, Geneseo, N.Y. 14454.