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December 26, 2008 York College Wins National Award For Community Service From NADIIIAA

York College (Pa.) is among this year's recipients of National Association of Division III Athletics Administrators awards honoring community-service projects and activities.

YCP, along with St. Mary's (Minnesota and Stevens Institute, each will receive $1,000 contributions to their general scholarship funds as recipients of NADIIIAA/Jostens Community Service Awards for projects during the 2007-08 academic year.

Ten other institutions also earned recognition in the program, which has honored Division III athletics programs' community-service efforts annually since 2002. All of the institutions will be recognized during January by NADIIIAA at the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C.

York is a first-time category winner as this year's honoree for an array of projects or activities.

The efforts of about 450 York student-athletes - participating in community service both with their specific teams and through department-wide projects - resulted in "hundreds of service man hours, thousands of dollars raised and hundreds of local lives touched," according to Sean Sullivan, the school's assistant dean of student affairs for athletics and recreation.

During the school year, projects ranged from providing Christmas gifts for families in a women's shelter to raising about $60,000 through two separate projects to support cancer research to leading physical-education and reading programs at local elementary schools.

Sullivan noted the efforts of Assistant Athletic Trainer Allison Kunkel, coordinator of the York Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), "deserves a great deal of credit for York winning this honor. She organized and managed most of our community service efforts last year."  

Senior field hockey midfielder Casey Knauss is one of the leaders of the York SAAC and also serves as the president of the CAC SAAC.

St. Mary's is also a category winner for the first time as this year's honoree for a one-time project or activity.

That school's student-athletes returned to campus from summer vacation in August 2007 to find that St. Mary's field house was serving as an emergency shelter for victims of flooding in southeastern Minnesota. The St. Mary's student-athlete advisory committee, which already had begun planning a community-service event designed to increase camaraderie among the school's athletics teams, nimbly shifted efforts to aiding the flood victims.

Nearly 200 student-athletes and their coaches collected food and water for shelter residents and flood-relief volunteers, and many of those student-athletes fanned out to nearby communities to clean up and repair homes and to help restore a state park. The student-athletes were credited by a relief worker with saving homeowners weeks of clean-up work while demonstrating compassion for flood victims.

Stevens Institute's recognition for an ongoing project or activity marks the second time the school has been selected as a category winner. It also was honored in 2002 in the one-time project category.

This time, the program is being honored for its Stevens Duckling Program, which was proposed by a student-athlete, John Dennan, after attending an NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference. Initially designed to give Duck student-athletes an opportunity to promote engineering and science education in local schools, the program also developed programming that focuses on teamwork and sportsmanship. The program involved approximately 180 student-athletes on 10 varsity teams during 2007-08 and now has expanded to involve 18 teams.

"It brought Stevens student-athletes and the local community much closer together," said Brian Granata, assistant athletics director at the school. "It provided the elementary school children with positive role models and educated them about college. The program also taught kids about the value of higher education and being part of a team."

Another institution, Manhattanville, earned recognition for 2007-08 in two categories. The school will receive an award of merit for a one-time project or activity and honorable mention for an array of projects or activities.

NADIIIAA also is presenting awards of merit to Geneseo State for a one-time project or activity; Springfield and Wisconsin-Eau Claire for an array of projects or activities; and Rose-Hulman Institute and Colorado College for an ongoing project or activity.

The organization also is awarding honorable mention to North Central (Illinois) and Nebraska Wesleyan for a one-time project or activity; Defiance for an array of projects or activities; and Pittsburgh-Bradford for an ongoing project or activity.

The awards are presented on cooperation with the program's exclusive sponsor, Jostens Inc. of Minneapolis, whose products include yearbooks, class rings, graduation products, school photography, and employee and achievement awards.