Even with the social distancing and stay at home guidelines put in place by the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Emporia State student-athletes combined to donate nearly 4,800 hours of community service during the 2019-20 school year.
The Hornets ranked ninth among NCAA Division II schools as part of the NCAA Helper Helper Challenge. Seven Emporia State programs, led by cheer's top finish, placed in the top 10 nationally in their sport.
The NCAA Helper Helper Service Challenge is a national community service competition for NCAA DI, DII and DIII athletic departments and student-athletes. Schools were ranked from a combination of total hours per student-athlete and participation rate of teams. It recognizes schools for their outstanding commitment to volunteerism and community service. Participation in the Competition using the Helper Helper platform was open to all NCAA-affiliated schools.
A total of 344 Hornet student-athletes participated in 28 different community engagement activities for a total of 4,769 hours during the school year. These activities ranged from their own HornetFest youth clinic in the fall to assisting with the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics to building dog houses for the Emporia Humane Society and many others.A total of 344 Hornet student-athletes participated in 28 different community engagement activities for a total of 4,769 hours during the school year. These activities ranged from their own HornetFest youth clinic in the fall to assisting with the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics to building dog houses for the Emporia Humane Society and many others. In the last 12 months Emporia State student-athletes have participated in over 5,200 hours of service and engagement.
"Emporia State is all about changing lives for the common good and our student-athletes demonstrate that through their community service activities," said Emporia State President Allison Garrett.
Emporia State ranked No. 1 in the nation among other cheer squads in the Helper Helper national team rankings. The Hornet softball and women's track and field teams were both fourth nationally while the soccer team ranked fifth. Emporia State baseball was seventh in the nation as the Hornet football and men's tennis teams each finished eighth nationally in their sport.
Every sport averaged at least seven hours of community service per team member during the 2019-20 school year. The softball team recorded just over 685 hours of service for an average of nearly 38 hours per student-athlete while women's track and field/cross country clocked over 1,000 hours for an average of 23 hours per athlete.
Cheer had 330 hours and an average of 15 hours per person. Soccer and women's basketball each averaged 13 hours per player with soccer turning in 283 hours and Lady Hornet basketball clocking 177 hours. Volleyball averaged 12 hours per student-athlete with almost 107 hours total. Men's track & field/cross country performed 651 hours for an average of 11 hours per person. The men's basketball and men's tennis teams each averaged ten hours per player. The Hornet hoopsters did almost 155 hours while the tennis players had 67 hours.
"We are very proud of our student-athlete commitment to serving our community," said Emporia State Deputy Director of Athletics Kristy Bayer. "As part of the educational process here at Emporia State, we strive to teach our student-athletes the value of community engagement. Our athletic programs have adopted this philosophy, and they've become community service leaders. This trait will stay with them for a lifetime."
Hornet student-athletes had the opportunity to freely access Helper Helper's mobile app and website as part of the competition, benefiting from the new innovations supporting communication and tracking of community service efforts.
"Community service is a big part of the overall growth of a young person, to learn to share their time and talents with the overall greater community," said Emporia State Director of Athletic Kent Weiser. "It starts with our coaches as they embrace that. They see the importance of community service in the development of our student-athletes, who in turn really buy into it."
Over 200 schools participated in the competition across all three NCAA Divisions, providing 467,249 hours of service to their respective communities.