We at SPRTER believe that athletes have the power to change the world. So, we wanted to show the world exactly that while also making a difference ourselves. That is why we started the SPRTER College Impact Awards (formerly the Athlete CRUSH College Impact Awards).
The College Impact Awards recognize student-athletes from across the US who have displayed acts of selflessness worth sharing. Sharing these stories, accomplishments, and positive acts is key to prompting action from others. We want to start a movement where athletes use their platform and their positions to do good. Also, the winner of each award will get to nominate a charity(s) to which we will donate $ in their name!
Today we are recognizing some select student-athletes who are eligible for the Community Champion Award finalists. This award goes to an individual who garners the most support from the community. In order to measure this, all nominees will have to create a profile on our SPRTER app. The winner is the athlete who manages to get the most followers by deadline day!
Dede Gilmore – La Salle University – Track and Field
Dede is a sophomore at La Salle, who has already taken a very active role in the community both on and off campus. After her freshmen year, she got involved with SAAC (student-athlete advisory committee) as Vice President and has taken it upon herself to get the rest of the athlete population on campus more involved. She played a vital role in Bringing Hope Home (raising money and buying Christmas gifts for a family battling cancer), volunteers with Special Olympics for 2 hours every week, and just started a new pen pal initiative with the local elementary school. Everything she does focuses around giving back, anyway she knows how. Dede’s selflessness makes her an awesome candidate for this year’s Community Award.
Tre Tipton – University of Pittsburgh – Football
For many student-athletes, sport contributes to a significant portion of one’s identity. Therefore, when student-athletes face short or long-term injuries, it can result in an extreme sense of loss and isolation because the student-athlete is excluded from many team activities to focus on rehabilitation and recovery. Recognizing the feelings of isolation and loneliness by teammates, Tre created an organization called L.O.V.E. (Living Out Victoriously Everyday) which brings student-athletes at Pitt together to discuss these challenges and strategize various healthy coping methods as well as provide space for a community of similarity. Through his organization, Tre has been invited to speak to numerous elementary and middle school students sharing his passion for mental health and community, thus acting as a catalyst at the University of Pittsburgh and the community at-large. His efforts make him a worthy candidate for the Community Award.
Victoria Belcher – Greensboro College – Volleyball
Victoria made a huge impact on the Greensboro College community as well as the volleyball program. During her time on the court, she set the school record for career digs all while experiencing 3 different coaches in her 4 year career. She was always willing to be a leader on the court and help others. At Greensboro she was a student orientation leader and ambassador for visitors on campus, was a 4-year member of the honors college, co-founder of the campus FCA club, participated in the Big Brother – Big Sister Program, and regularly volunteered for Renew the New, an environmental organization that actively cleans up rivers. While being heavily involved and constantly trying to improve the world around her, she also graduated with the team’s top GPA and was recently accepted in to West Virginia University’s MD program. She has left her mark on Greensboro College in so many ways and will not be forgotten. Her efforts make her an amazing candidate for the Community Award!
Samantha Stubbs – Lake Forest College – Ice Hockey
Sam has been nominated for her incredibly positive spirit and the ability to push those around her. Not only does Sam put the team 1st, she makes her academics and community service a priority. She has maintained her 3.75 GPA while putting up more hours than any other teammate of hers with events such as Relay for Life, Misericordia Days, Ry’s Run (a run dedicated to an alumnus who passed from cancer), Girls and Women in Sport, with the list going on and on. She is extremely reliable and always the very first person to volunteer to help. Samantha is a worthy candidate for the Catalyst Award.
Maddi Nilson – Boise State College – Gymnastics
Maddi is nominated for completing more than 150 hours of community service this past year alone. In addition to helping lead the Broncos to a fifth-consecutive conference championship and a 12th-straight NCAA Regional appearance, Nilson spent time volunteering with St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, local elementary schools and other organizations. She is also a three-time Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference All-Academic honoree. Her efforts inside and outside of competition make her a worthy Community Award candidate.
Noah Valencia – Gallaudet University – Basketball
Noah has been nominated for his thirst for helping others. He has volunteered at Kendall Elementary School, volunteered with the Gallaudet University food drive, and volunteered to shovel snow in his school’s DC neighbourhood. His coach says he is always the first person to volunteer and show up at any activity. Noah has also been named to the 3rd Team All-Conference Team twice and the 2nd Team All-Conference team once.
He also participated with the Deaf USA Basketball Team at the 2015 World Deaf Championship in Taiwan, the 2016 Deaf Pan American Games at Maryland, and the Deaf U21 World Championships in Washington D.C. in 2018. He plans to play in the 2019 Deaf World Championship in Poland this summer. He has managed all this while maintaining an impressive 3.7 GPA. Noah is a great candidate for this year’s Catalyst Award, and good luck in Poland Noah!
Erin Egan – Daemen College – Basketball
Her and the Daemen College Women’s Basketball team took on a Team Impact player by the name of Sophia. Team Impact connects kids with serious illnesses to collegiate teams and athletes to form life-changing bonds. Erin personally took Sophia under her wing and spent countless hours over the past 2 years being a great friend to Sophia. Erin facetimes Sophia when she was getting her treatments, arranges team movie nights for Sophia & arranges for her team to attend special events for her. Erin was selected last year to be an ambassador for Team Impact, as a result of her amazing work with Sophia, to recruit other children with life threatening diseases to work with teams in the area. The impact Erin made on Sophia’s and her family’s lives makes her a worthy candidate for the Community Award.
Geovanna Ferreira – Bridgeport University – Lacrosse
Geovanna’s university experienced a tragic loss of two student-athletes last year and Geovanna lead the charge in terms of mental health awareness at universities within the conference. She is the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee where she presented at the D2SAAC Convention last year about her plans for ending the stigma on suicide and her plans to help student athletes get the help that they need. This topic is something that is hard to bring up, but she is strong and is staying strong throughout this initiative to help student-athletes talk to someone or for others to reach out and ask questions. For someone at this age to speak in front of 100+ people about her ideas to help create a better culture is something to admire. The two-year senior captain is a worthy candidate for this year’s Community Award.
Hannah Driscoll – University of Kansas – Track and Field + Swimming
Hannah, a member of the KU Track & KU Swim/Dive teams, served as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee President during the 2018-2019 school year. During that time she was also the chair of the Mental Health subcommittee. As the chair of the mental health subcommittee she was instrumental in launching the “Beak The Stigma Campaign”. Beak the Stigma was focused on raising mental health awareness and decreasing the stigma around asking for help. One out of every four college students experience struggles related to mental health and Hannah who graduated with degrees in both Community Health and Psychology was passionate about this issue to help launch this campaign. “We want to show our fellow student-athletes that it’s OK not to be OK,” said Hannah. “We don’t have to go it alone. Seeking help shows strength, not weakness. We can’t be afraid to communicate about these issues. We know we are better together, and together we will Beak The Stigma.” Hannah’s selflessness makes her a worthy candidate for the Community Award!
Hannah Benton – Massachusetts Maritime Academy – Softball
Hannah is a senior softball player at Mass Maritime who has dedicated herself to community service in her community. At her school she serves as Seventh Company’s Volunteer Coordination Officer, making sure all cadets in her company are completing some type of community service. Hannah is also a representative for Mass Maritime with the Special Olympics, specifically with the Special Olympics of Massachusetts Board. Hannah has spent countless hours working with the Special Olympics and organizing events to benefit their programs. This semester Hannah started the Special Olympics Walking/Jogging club. The club is for students, faculty, and staff to participate and spend time with some special athletes from Whitney Academy, a local residential home for boys aged 10-22 who are on the spectrum or have behavioral disorders. Hannah has been an activist and a catalyst on her campus and in doing so has made it a better place. Hannah is a wonderful candidate for our Community Award!
Dusan Keca – University of California, Riverside – Soccer
Dusan is an international student from Serbia. He was welcomed to the men’s soccer program 2.5 years ago from a community college in Chicago. Being in a new country, learning the language and jumping to DI soccer is a challenge in of itself. Yet, after just one year on campus, Dusan took on the role of team captain as the team lacked a true leader. Dusan stepped up and laid a foundation of what the team would be about. Dusan had such an active role in cultivating relationships within the program, as well as being instrumental in creating a brotherhood with his teammates. While the beginning of the season was a struggle, he was the glue that stayed strong and brought the group closer. Through the hardships of the season, he was the first captain to lead the team to a Big West Conference Championship. Dusan is a worthy candidate for this year’s Community Award.
This award goes to the individual who manages to garner the most support from the community. In order to measure this, all nominees will have to create a profile on our SPRTER app. The winner is the athlete who manages to get the most followers by deadline day!
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