Student-athletes from Sacred Heart University were honored on Wednesday for their contributions in Chowdafest earning the Connecticut Governor's 2018 Tourism Volunteer(s) of the Year award. Senior Devon Conley and freshman Logan Liljeberg represented the Pioneers at the Connecticut Convention Center as part of the Connecticut Governor's Conference on Tourism.
"Part of the fabric of our student-athlete experience is the dedication to both social responsibility and community involvement," said Pioneers Executive Director of Athletics, Bobby Valentine. "They thrive on the ability to make a difference within our community and we are proud of their commitment and enthusiasm towards causes such as Chowdafest."
SHU Athletics helps provide a bulk of the Chowdafest volunteers, with several hundred student-athletes taking part each year. It is one of many events that the Pioneers student-athletes partake in each year. SHU student-athletes contribute nearly 9,000 hours of community service per academic year. That dedication to the community has earned SHU the Northeast Conference Building Communities Award in six of the past seven years.
Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, began 11 years ago with just a few hundred-people attending the chowder, soup & bisque competition, but with the event now experiencing crowds of over 12,000 people, the number of volunteers needed has increased.
"Our continued success over the past 10 years is due in no small part to our volunteers' passion for the event, desire to help us feed the hungry and their infectious exuberance," said Chowdafest executive director Jim Keenan. "It resonates with all who attend!"
The bulk of Chowdafest volunteers are student athletes from both SHU and Fairfield University, which are both located in Fairfield, CT. Between both universities, they provide approximately 400 volunteers.
Chowdafest has been named a New England top event by Yankee Magazine the past two years and just this week named "8 New England Summer Events Not to Miss"
The 2018 New England Chowdafest will be held Sunday Sept 30th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Conn.