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Athletes to be recognized for community outreach

During the week, their dedication is shown in the classroom and in practicing for their teams. Yet, throughout the year, their hard work is shown beyond the playing field in their active outreach to the local community.

On Saturday, following the USF track and field invitational, 375 student athletes from 11 different sports will gather for the first USF celebration of National Student Athlete Day.

National Student Athlete Day began in 1987 as a day to recognize the dedication of student athletes in their achievements in the college and the community.

The USF Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives from each sports team, will conduct the celebration of National Student Athlete Day.

“I think that there is a misconception that athletes have it easy. Not only are students athletes, but they work. It’s nice that there is a day that we can come together and share with all the other athletes,” said Staci Sastre, the women’s SAAC soccer representative.

In 2002, more than 305,000 athletes were honored compared to 150,000 in 1997 according to the National Student Athlete History Web site.

Jorge Escallon, co-president of SAAC, said the celebration will begin at about 4 p.m.

“It is important because it is a time for student athletes to be recognized because of what they do in the community,” Escallon said.

Escallon said USF athletes participate in community service, such as volunteering at Shriner’s Hospital and USF’s Charter School.

“It is more about community involvement and reinforcing that idea,” said Escallon. “SAAC is involved with celebrating it for the first year. We want to make it a USF tradition.

“The most important thing while we are celebrating is we want to celebrate it with everyone. We really want to get students involved with athletes so we can integrate with them,” said Cori Kill, also a co-president of SAAC.