Track and field, cross country and baseball teams contribute most community service hours among sports teams

The women’s track and field and cross country team poses for a photo during its time volunteering at Corn Fest in downtown DeKalb.

By Jemea Green

DeKALB — Student-athletes at NIU racked up a total of 5,150 community service hours during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Giving back and connecting with the community is important to NIU, according to the annual Athletics report which documents the hours teams contributed. Each athletic team at NIU is required to put in community service hours, and each student athlete is required to put in at least 20 hours of community service, and most of them do more, the report states.

The cross country and track and field teams collectively volunteered the most hours out of all athletic teams, the report states. The teams contributed more hours than all of the other women’s teams combined with 1,480 hours.

Over the summer, members of the teams put in their own community service hours, volunteering at hospitals, shelters and zoos and racking up over 100 hours a piece.

A lot of the teams’ work came from volunteering with children, having worked over 350 hours at Clinton-Rosette Middle School, Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School and Sycamore Park District.

Track and field head coach and cross country assistant coach Adrian Myers also puts on a corn classic 10K which allows a host of athletes to get at least 5 hours a piece, he said.

Track and field and cross country athletes also gave back by volunteering over 180 hours at KishHealth System and over 130 hours at the DeKalb Corn Fest, he said.

The baseball team had the most hours out of all men’s sports with 980 hours. The players donate most of their time volunteering at Heritage Woods Retirement Community, with 400 hours coming from there.

Over 190 hours came from volunteering with children.

The baseball team spent its time at the Kishwaukee YMCA and during the holidays, team members took time to volunteer at Toys for Tots at Hope Haven. A couple of baseball players also do volunteer work outside of their team, including mentoring middle school students, redshirt junior outfielder Kam Smith said.