‘It’s a plus in all aspects’: Utah Tech student-athletes give back

Utah Tech University’s athletes are not only encouraged but also willing to serve campus and community no matter how busy their schedules get. Photo courtesy of Emily Isaacson.

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Student-athletes have many obligations, responsibilities and requirements, but still, prioritize service hours and volunteer work.

Utah Tech University student-athletes are required to complete 10 service hours each semester due to National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines. 

According to a recent study conducted by the NCAA, 67% of women and 56% of men who are student-athletes believe they have the responsibility to engage in community service or voluntary work. 

“Serving [the community] and helping them is a great chance for us to interact with them and get to know them more,” Breaunna Gillen, a senior exercise science major from West Jordan said. “It’s a plus in all aspects.”

Although student-athletes’ schedules are occupied with practice, academics and work, they still make time to give back. 

“More than 80% of student-athletes volunteer at least once a year, while 44% serve at least a few hours a month with a variety of organizations, both local and national,” according to the NCAA survey.

Emily Isaacson, a senior recreation and sports management major from Perry, said student-athletes want to engage with the community and acknowledge the people that donate, support and attend the team’s events.

“It’s overall important because you can’t help the community enough,” Maggie McCord, a senior criminal justice major from South Jordan said. “The community gives us so much by just donating, coming to our games, and supporting us.”

The required service hours can either be completed individually or as a team. Acquiring these service hours can range from community involvement activities such as meet and greets to volunteering at local races such as the St. George Marathon. 

Despite the fact there is no punishment for not completing service hours, student-athletes are encouraged to document the service hours that are completed. In the documentation, they are asked to include the activity, the hours, and how many people were involved.

Isaacson said the athletic department and Utah Tech student-athlete advisory committee strive to promote completing the service hours and create better relationships with supporters.

In 2021, then SAAC president Deven Osborne, a fifth-year graduate from Los Angeles, was named to the 30th Anniversary Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Osborne’s nomination was due to his leadership and admirable acts of community service.

At the end of the day, Utah Tech student-athletes continue to go above and beyond with volunteer service hours and find fulfillment while doing so.