Division II

Award Of Excellence: Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference: Southwest Minnesota State University

Southwest Minnesota State teamed up with Marshall Public Schools and Hy-Vee as they hosted 700 students in grades three to five in an event called KidsFit run by Hy-Vee.? Because of a grant, the school was able to host an additional 900 students in grades two through five. This event is designed for kids and families to help promote health, exercise and nutrition. SMSU student-athletes helped with the event by welcoming the kids to campus and helped to lead and engage with the students during the program. In addition to this program, a senior football student-athlete, Jon Dicke, was recognized for being named to the 2018 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.

Award of Excellence: Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference: Gannon

Gannon athletics developed a program called Friday Night Lights to help promote and engage youth in physical activity, expose them to new sports and connect them with positive role models. Within this program, each Gannon athletics team conducted a life skill or team-building activity with the participants. The teams that signed up each week collaborated with the university wellness staff to help develop their activity. The athletics teams and the university wellness staff met the participants at the local neighborhood park. From the park, the student-athletes would form a “walking bus” back to campus to conduct the program’s activities. Friday Night Lights ended with sharing a meal together that was donated by a local restaurant. This program ran for six weeks, growing each week as the word spread throughout the community neighborhood.

Madison's Wish

Washburn’s volleyball team was connected with a Make-A-Wish child, Madison Welsh, at its quarterfinal appearance in Pittsburgh for the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships Festival. Since then, Washburn, Madison and her family have been sharing photos and videos as she battles pediatric multiple sclerosis. This past summer, the Washburn volleyball team hosted a sand volleyball tournament to raise money to fly Madison and her family from Pittsburgh to Topeka, Kansas, for a home volleyball game. She attended Washburn’s opening weekend of conference play in September, and was the honorary captain at Washburn’s home football game! The team hosted Madison and her family all weekend and were featured on an Instagram Takeover on the NCAA Division II Instagram account.

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