Courtesy of Oswego Sports Information Department
ORLANDO, Fla. – On Saturday, the Oswego State athletic department earned its 12th National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) award in the past 10 years at the NCAA Convention. Track and field alumnae Tara Hansen and current track and field athlete Natalie Horton joined Director of Athletics Sue Viscomi to accept the trophy at the NADIIIAA reception. The national award was for first place in the "Array of Projects" category, the department's seventh first place award over that span of time.
Oswego was recognized on the heels of Laker teams combining for 81 different community service projects or events during the 2017-18 school year, a new school record. Those efforts supported approximately 53 different organizations, setting another department record.
"We're very happy with another first place award," said Dan Witmer, the athletic department's community service coordinator. "They changed the format of the application this year, and we weren't sure how we'd do with the new process."
Laker student-athletes averaged 7.7 hours of individual service last year, as teams continued to make community service a priority in and out of season.
Some of the highlights of last year's projects include the following:
- Annual St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser
- Annual Special Olympics events
- Annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life
- Annual Green/Gold/Pink Game for the Wilmot Center Institute
- Annual Yards for Yeardley Walk
- Annual For the Kids Fundraiser
- Team fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, the United Way, Hope for Heather, etc.
- Team projects including reading at local elementary schools, assisting at local road races, and supporting toy/food/clothing drives
- Two tractor trailers and one storage unit of toys for Catholic Charities were unloaded by the men's ice hockey team into Laker Hall for distribution
- 15 coaches representing 19 of Oswego State's 24 teams participating in Coaches in the Classroom during the NCAA's D-III Week
- 10 Laker teams participating in September's Teal Walk
- 20 Laker teams participating in April's Yards for Yeardley event
- 40 Oswego Minor Hockey Association "Little Sisters" adopted by the women's ice hockey team over the year
- 150 winter coats collected and distributed by the men's ice hockey team for Oswego County Catholic Charities
- 736 teddy bears collected for Toys for Tots at the annual Teddy Bear Toss at a men's ice hockey game
- $200 for the Ted Mullin Fund, raised by the men's and women's swimming and diving teams
- $400 for Move Along, Inc, raised by the wrestling team at their January fundraiser
- $400 for the Wilmot Cancer Institute, raised by the men's lacrosse team at their annual Green/Gold/Pink fall scrimmage
- $400 for the American Cancer Society, raised by the men's and women's swimming and diving teams, at this year's Relay for Life
- $525 for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, raised by the softball team as part of their "STEPtember" campaign
- $532 for the United Way of Oswego County, raised by the men's and women's ice hockey team at their annual Holiday Skate
- $750 for Toys for Tots and the Oswego County Children's Fund at the annual Teddy Bear Toss
- $1,000 for Hope for Heather and Peaceful Remedies by the men's and women's ice hockey teams at their annual Teal Gate game
- $1,500 for Hope for Heather and Peaceful Remedies at this year's annual Teal Walk
- $1,800 for the International Water Safety Foundation by the men's and women's swimming and diving teams when they helped set a Guinness Book of Records mark for treading water
- $2,000 for Hope for Heather by the men's and women's ice hockey teams at the Syracuse Crunch's Oswego Community Night
- $3,715 raised by the men's soccer team and $4,661 by the men's lacrosse team for the St. Baldrick's Foundation
- Approximately $15,000 was raised by the combined efforts of the men's ice hockey team and the DKK fraternity in their annual For the Kids campaign, which benefits the Children's Advocacy Center of Oswego County
- Almost $90,000 raised at this year's St. Baldrick's Day in Oswego event, supported in various ways by the men's soccer and lacrosse teams, the men's ice hockey team, the volleyball team, the field hockey team, and the men's and women's track and field teams
"While we are always grateful for being recognized for our efforts, we have been focused on 2018-19 and were busy in the community during the fall semester," stated Witmer. "Community service will always be a central part of being a Laker."