Throughout the 2012-13 academic year Central Connecticut’s student-athletes have compiled more than 7,800 hours of community service. The final event of the academic year was held on Sunday, May 5, the Central Connecticut Department of Athletics hosted the Hartford Chapter of the March of Dimes for their annual walk at the Blue Devils’ new track and field complex.
“Our objective is clear. Develop young men and women into champions; in the classroom, in competition, on campus, in the community, and ultimately in life,” Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann said earlier this spring. “Community engagement is an integral part of the core mission of the university and we take that responsibility very seriously as an athletics program and as a front porch to the University. Because the New Britain community gives so much support to CCSU and our program, our student-athletes and staff are willing participants to reciprocate that support in myriad ways."
Over 300 Blue Devil student-athletes and coaches, coordinated by Assistant Athletic Director Molly McCarthy and University Assistant Kacey Light, have participated in community service events this year that have stretched across a wide range of activities and reached a broad number of community groups. CCSU student-athletes have worked with organizations such as the Interval House, the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction, the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Boys and Girls Club and Hoops for the Homeless.
One of CCSU’s largest initiatives is reading with students at various elementary schools in New Britain and the surrounding communities. Student-athletes travel to area schools including John Patterson Elementary in Newington, Vance Elementary School in New Britain and Kinsella Elementary School in Hartford. The Blue Devils read with the students and also take time to work with the children on creative projects.
Another area of focus for CCSU is the clean-up of the New Britain community. Student-athletes have participated in several clean-up projects this year, including landscaping and litter removal at the homes of elderly individuals, a clean-up of Urban Oaks Farm in New Britain and on April 19, a massive clean-up of the area around campus was a component of CCSU’s first Day of Giving.
In January, CCSU hosted its second National Women and Girls in Sports Day event, NWGSD day is held annually to recognizing the significance of women participating in sports. For the second consecutive year, CCSU held a clinic for young female athletes in conjunction with a home women’s basketball game. Approximately 140 athletes from nine teams worked the clinic, which was attended by dozens of area youths.
Schlickmann added, "I am so proud of the exceptional efforts of our SAAC and all our student-athletes this past year for their selfless devotion of nearly 8,000 hours of community service, a record number for our program. Our relationship with the community is critical to our success and there is no more meaningful way to say thank you than through the genuine caring of our student-athletes. It is a priority for us to give back, but our student-athletes reap as much reward from their service as they are fortunate enough to give."
Many of CCSU’s community service activities are funded by the Walmart Grant, which is a monetary award presented to institutions that are involved in their communities and have a detailed plan for future community outreach.