SPRINGFIELD, Mass.-- Western New England University Athletics is proud to take part in NCAA Division III Week, which is running from April 7-13 across the country. The event is a celebration by member institutions and conferences of the division's unique philosophy that equally values academics, athletics and student-athletes' involvement in a full and rich campus life. This year's celebration takes on more meaning as member schools and conferences also are celebrating Division III's 40th anniversary year.
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) kicked off its celebration of Division III Week on Sunday with National Student-Athlete Day, as the conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted its spring meeting. The group held a morning meeting to discuss conference business and in the afternoon they participated in a presentation given by Hudson Taylor, the Founder & Executive Director of Athlete Ally. For more information on Athlete Ally, please visit http://www.athleteally.org/about/.
Among the initiatives specifically engaged by Western New England student-athletes and teams:
- "Play for a Cause" games for promoting awareness and collecting donations for charities who work to prevent autism and childhood cancer. In addition, Men's Lacrosse will champion The Wounded Warrior Project when it visits Endicott College on Tuesday, April 15.
- During the course of the academic year, 100 percent of our teams have participated in community service projects throughout Greater Springfield.
- Over 300 food items, 200 personal hygiene items, used sporting goods equipment and monetary donations have been collected through WNE's SAAC body to benefit our local community.
- Western New England SAAC is promoting "Wear Your Blue and Gold" during D-III Week to support WNE Athletics. So show your pride and wear your WNE school colors...always!
- Western New England SAAC is promoting "Adopt-a-Teams" to attend and recruit attendees at all of the home contests this week.
- In celebration of D-III Week, Western New England SAAC is drafting a resolution to recognize the University faculty and staff that have assisted in our success, as well as recognizing representatives of our renown Faculty Fellow program who may be in attendance at home games this spring.
- Striving to raise $450, or $1 per student-athlete, to give back to WNE Athletics in support of the Golden Bear Pavilion construction project.
- Each of the team's SAAC representatives will be making posters to promote D-III Week.
For a Division III Week "Facts & Figures" document, please click HERE.
The conference SAAC is also currently holding its "Annual Giving Event" which began in March and will run through DIII Week. The giving event is an initiative that requires each campus SAAC to select a specific item(s) to collect on campus and then make a donation to a local charity. A few different items that are being collected include shoes, backpacks, slightly used athletic gear, old uniforms, and personal hygiene items.
- Working with local Special Olympics organizations
- Volunteering at a community centers
- Working with local elementary students to promote what it is like to be in college
- "Play for the Cause" fundraising efforts
- Hosting National Student-Athlete Day ceremonies
- Honoring Dean's List student-athletes at home contests
- Team captains sharing a meal with college/university administrators
- Inviting faculty members to attend athletic contests and recognizing faculty/staff members that have participated in a college sports or who currently support teams
- Athlete-for-Athlete days to spread school spirit and increase attendance for all spring sports
- Highlighting student-athletes by creating a video of activities throughout the week
- Bringing speakers onto campus
- Wearing athletics gear during the week to show awareness around campus
- Putting up informational fliers and showing DIII informational videos
Division III Week is an opportunity to publicly celebrate and promote the ways in which Division III members have provided a well-rounded collegiate experience not only for approximately 180,000 student-athletes currently playing sports in the NCAA's largest division, but for the hundreds of thousands of their predecessors who have competed since Division III was formed and hosted its first championships during 1973-74.
During NCAA Division III Week, every member institution and conference is encouraged to schedule at least one activity, which celebrates an aspect of the Division III student-athlete experience, from these three categories:
•Academic accomplishment, including activities such as taking time during a game to acknowledge student-athlete academic achievement, or asking teams to select a faculty member to serve as a guest coach for a practice or competition.
•Athletics activity, including conducting events such as a youth sports clinic or competition, or scheduling recognition of school teams' or individuals' athletics accomplishments during a game.
•Community or campus outreach, such as scheduling a community-service activity during the week, or participating in an event involving a local chapter of Special Olympics as part of Division III's partnership with that organization.
Follow all of the DIII Week stories being told across the country by checking out the Twitter hashtag #d3week and if you want to tell a Division III story of your own, use the Twitter hashtag #whyd3!