Sacred Heart Wins Third-Straight Building Communities Award

Somerset, NJ -- Sacred Heart prides itself on its strong commitment to charitable and community service efforts, and on a conference-wide basis, the Pioneers have now won three consecutive Northeast Conference (NEC) Building Communities Awards.

The award, conceived by the NEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), recognizes the institution which demonstrates the highest dedication to making an impact in the community through the efforts of its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. Over the course of the 2012-13 academic year, Conference members logged more than 20,000 hours of community service.

"The NEC Building Communities Award is the ultimate expression and recognition of caring for those less fortunate," said Don Cook, Sacred Heart Executive Director of Athletics.  "Having won the award three consecutive years speaks volumes for the quality of the student-athletes we have at Sacred Heart university.  Student-athletes engaged in community service grasp fully the impact their selfless acts of outreach and kindness have on the external community, especially on those who live in the urban center of nearby Bridgeport.  Many quickly recognize that in giving they are receiving even more."

Sacred Heart itself donated 8,121 hours of community service, the majority of which took place through the "Dunbar School Initiative."  The Dunbar School is a K-8 school located on the east side of Bridgeport, CT.  The Sacred Heart SAAC takes part in the M.O.T.I.V.A.T.E. project at Dunbar, which stands for Meaningful Opportunities To Inspire Vision and Achieving Total Excellence.  The mission is to provide opportunities to Dunbar students through mentoring that will enhance their sense of pride, responsibility and worth.  The SAAC arranged for athletic vans to be available every morning, driven by students, with 10-15 student-athletes visiting Dunbar each day to help assist in the classroom.
"After a morning at Bridgeport’s Dunbar School many athletes return to campus with a refreshing and renewed respect for how lucky they are, as well the resolve not to complain about things that once seemed important that now are no longer as they once appeared to be," noted Cook.  "Following an hour with homeless children who can’t read, write or do basic adding and subtracting, not to mention the worn, hand down clothes and shoes they wear, the athletes quickly come to grips with how blessed they are.  Many athletes have offered to say that community service has better prepared them to recognize that to live fully they need to reach out to others in need.  Community outreach offers that special intrinsic quality of character as to how to live in the everyday world.  The work our student-athletes do reaffirms the Sacred Heart University mission that work in the community through service to others, especially the poor, is the bedrock and foundation of a real education, much richer than any moment of passing euphoria on the playing field."

Along with Sacred Heart's contributions to its local community, Central Connecticut finished the year with 7,904 hours of service, the second highest total in the Conference.  Wagner (5,554), Saint Francis U (2,430) and Bryant (2,089) all logged more than 2,000 hours during the 2012-13 academic year.

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