Community Service Year in Review

This year in athletics, we had a renewed commitment to community service and engaging our surrounding communities. This was a great way for our student-athletes and staff to participate in the Christian mission of the university and we are very proud of the way they rose to the challenge this year.

2012-13 FPU Athletics Community Service Year in Review

With the move to NCAA Division II, the past year of Fresno Pacific Athletics was highlighted by a renewed commitment to serving the community through various projects and events.

FPU student-athletes and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) volunteered a grand total of 2,328 hours of service in the surrounding community, on campus and at the national level throughout the 2012-13 season.

"The Department of Athletics and our student-athletes are committed to serving the community in a variety of ways as a component of the NCAA Division II athletic experience and the Christian mission of our university," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Leslie Schuemann, who directed community service initiatives for the year.

"We provide our student-athletes many opportunities to serve, engage and lead within our local community.  In turn, community service provides growth opportunities for our student-athletes, as well as real world experience across many different venues."

Within the community, FPU student-athletes took part in 659 hours of community engagement while also serving 1,669 hours of community service at many different events in the Fresno area.

Each team participated in multiple community service and community engagement activities. This included:

Baseball
*Volunteered weekly in a special education classroom.

Men's Basketball
*Invited foster children and their families on campus for a home game with all of the kids getting to have dinner, pictures and autographs with the team before the game.
*Put on a basketball clinic for kids at a local elementary school

Women's Basketball
*Put on basketball clinics for kids at local elementary schools
*Put on a Special Olympics basketball skills contest
*"Adopted" a local park and helped improve conditions for use by the Fresno community
*Assisted with after-school programs

Men's Soccer
*Assisted the set up and tear down of FPU's MCC relief sale, an event that brings between five and eight thousand people on campus each year to raise money for missions overseas.

Women's Soccer
*Sold newspapers for "Kids Day" to raise money for Valley Children's Hospital
*"Adopted" a local park and helped improve conditions for use by the Fresno community

Men's & Women's Swimming
*Partnered with Fresno Community Food Bank to package food for the hungry
*Spoke at local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) event

Men's & Women's Tennis
*Volunteered at Fresno Rescue Mission, setting up and serving meals to the homeless

Men's and Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
*Volunteered at Valley Children's Hospital's 5K run
*Partnered with Fresno Community Food Bank to package food for the hungry
*Visited the elderly in an assisted-living community
*Officiated a high school track meet

Women's Volleyball
*Spoke at local junior high schools during "Red Ribbon Week", educating kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Men's & Women's Water Polo
*Ran a Saturday "sports day" for kids
*Ran after-school programs and fitness activities at a local elementary school
*Participated in painting, drywall & sanding to improve facilities at a local elementary school near FPU.

There were also a number of projects that were a collaborative effort between teams. This included:

FPU Fitness Fair

NCAA Division II takes pride in making community engagement activities a priority, emphasizing the building of relationships by bringing the community to campus to experience Division II and its events.

FPU student-athletes took pride in planning, promoting and executing the first SAAC community engagement activity hosted on the Fresno Pacific campus for the surrounding community. The first annual FPU Fitness Fair on April 20th brought multiple local businesses, student-athletes and fans together to promote health and wellness through a variety of ways.

All 16 FPU athletics teams participated, partnering with nearly 20 local businesses to provide entertainment, prizes and fun ways to inform the community about the event's three specific focuses: obesity, nutrition and exercise.

Student-athletes took the opportunity to engage with the community by teaching their sport and participating in activities to raise awareness of health and wellness. This included a "Zumba" session, as well as an 'Iron Bird Challenge' that consisted of eight stations ranging from a push-up test to an obstacle course. Business participants included GNC, Jamba Juice, Sierra Running Company, Pita Pit, Herbalife, Wawona Fruit and more.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

This season the Make-A-Wish Foundation was a priority for FPU SAAC. By the end of the year SAAC had raised $3,000 dollars for Make-A-Wish while creating awareness of the organization through the campus and Fresno communities.

FPU hosted an event in the first week of October as part of the NCAA Division II's "Week of Wishes" campaign at men's and women's soccer games. The event included a raffle and a half-time shootout contest while the FPU SAAC donated all proceeds from the admission of the game to Make-A-Wish.

The SAAC hosted two separate 'Penny Wars' events on campus to raise funds for the foundation in the fall and spring semesters. The entire campus population competed against each other, with different areas of campus (including the FPU branch campus in Visalia) contributing to the cause.

Funds were also collected at numerous home events, as FPU student-athletes encouraged the community to make a difference as well.

Community Food Bank

The SAAC hosted multiple food drives for the local Community Food Bank in the months of September and November at various soccer, volleyball and basketball games, where attendees of the game had the opportunity to gain admission by donating non-perishable food items. Over 440 pounds of food were collected and distributed to those struggling with hunger in the Fresno area.

Toys for Tots

Over 100 toys were collected by the SAAC for the children of the Fresno area in partnership with the Marine Corp. at the December basketball games vs. Dixie State. The Toys for Tots drive allowed the FPU community to pass out gifts in the Christmas season to those in need.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics of Northern California joined the FPU SAAC at a January basketball game and had the opportunity to compete in a game at halftime in front of the home crowd. The SAAC celebrated the Special Olympics athletes and their many achievements at the event.

NCCAA Championships

Because FPU was ineligible to compete in NCAA postseason during the transition from the NAIA, the university sent select teams that had met NCAA postseason criteria, to compete at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) national tournaments.

FPU men's soccer, women's volleyball, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's tennis, men's track & field, and women's track & field, each participated in a national NCCAA postseason event and FPU student-athletes took this opportunity to represent Fresno Pacific on a national level by participating in more community service. This included:

*The FPU volleyball team participating in "Restore Orlando", playing and teaching volleyball to inner-city youth in Florida.
*The men's soccer team preparing thousands of meals to be distributed to the hungry in the Orlando area.
*The men's basketball team reading and facilitating activities for elementary school children in Winona Lake, Indiana.
*The FPU track & field teams participating in a clothing drive and donating shoes for the underprivileged in Marian, Indiana.
*The FPU tennis teams assisting with P.E. classes and teaching tennis to students at an elementary school in Mobile, Alabama.

FPU SAAC Year in Review

The SAAC created three different goals at the start of the year, as well as a new mission statement "to represent FPU student-athletes with integrity, faithfulness and service with the goal of building a vibrant, Christ-centered community."

*First, the SAAC worked to increase FPU Athletics' involvement in both the FPU campus community, as well as the surrounding communities throughout Fresno County. This included service initiatives organized by SAAC and carried out by a vast representation of all FPU teams by working with many local and national organizations.

*Second, the SAAC set out to build a sense of community within the entire athletic program by encouraging unity, common purpose and camaraderie between all athletics teams and among all student-athletes. The SAAC developed a 'adopt a team' project, where each team adopted another team and attended contests and encouraged others to attend to show support among the student-athletes.

*The final goal of the SAAC was to act as a liaison between the Department of Athletics and the FPU student-athletes and generate a voice for the student-athlete population and provide feedback to athletic administration to optimize the overall student-athlete experience, as well as provide response to proposed conference and national legislation.

*The SAAC partnered with the FPU student government to begin discussions on Sunday library hours to help the student-athlete experience to provide an important space to study on campus and also worked with FPU Student Life on Alcohol Awareness Week activities.

*The SAAC also met with FPU President Dr. Pete Menjares to discuss the university strategic plan, reviewed the Department of Athletics Exit interviews and provided feedback, performed assessments on sports information, athletics training, and compliance and also reviewed the Department of Athletics strategic plan, providing feedback to improve the student-athlete experience.

*Within the conference, the SAAC reviewed and provided feedback on the Pacific West Conference social media policy, reviewed and voted on 2013 NCAA Division II proposed legislation, participated in the Pacific West Conference SAAC Retreat, reviewed Division II resources including the Strategic Positioning Platform, diicommunity.org, and Division II Facebook page and provided a liaison to the FPU Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Council.

*The Fresno Pacific University SAAC takes pride in the projects, activities and accomplishments in 2012-2013 and is committed to continuing the service in the many years to come at the NCAA Division II level. The number of community service hours this year will be used as a starting point and teams have committed to increasing their efforts for the upcoming season.