Storm-relief efforts by student athletes from the State University College at Oneonta have earned the college national recognition among Division III schools for its dedication to community service.
That recognition comes from the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators, which chose SUNY Oneonta as the overall winner in the One-Time Project category of this year’s Community Service Awards.
The awards, which were made in January, cover community-service projects performed by student athletes during the 2011-12 academic year. The SUCO athletes were recognized for their flood-relief efforts after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in the fall of 2011.
The athletes and their coaches provided more than 500 hours of community service to help communities cope with flooding caused by the two storms, the college said in a press release.
The wrestling team provided cleanup and demolition labor for Eugene Deitz, a 90-year-old resident of Schoharie, whose home had been submerged by nearly eight feet of water. The wrestlers spent a day removing muck and stripping the house to its frame, saving Deitz almost $15,000 in labor costs, according to the college. The wrestlers then helped the family of teammate John Nolis of Owego with demolition and reconstruction.
The women’s lacrosse team pitched in to help relief efforts in the village of Sidney, clearing debris and delivering food and supplies to families affected by the flooding, according to the college.
SUNY Oneonta was one of 15 schools honored in three categories: One-Time Project, An Array of Projects and Ongoing Projects. One overall winner was selected in each category, along with four merit award winners and honorable mentions. This is the sixth time that Oneonta Athletics has been honored for its commitment to community service but the first time it has been an overall winner in a category. The Athletics Department received a trophy, and the college received $1,000 for its general scholarship fund.
The awards program, co-sponsored by Jostens, a supplier of class rings, yearbooks and athletic awards, is intended to draw attention to the public service undertaken by Division III student athletes. The association is composed of athletic administrators from the nearly 450 institutions and 43 conferences competing at the NCAA Division III level.
The awards were presented in January during the NCAA Convention in Grapevine, Texas.