SPRINGDALE - Razorback student-athletes contributed 6,052 hours of community service in the past year, helping out with a variety of different programs designed for the athletes to give back to their community. On Saturday morning, members of the Razorback women’s tennis and soccer teams, along with staff from the academic and student-athlete development department, took part in a Habitat for Humanity project to build a house for a community member. The group spent an entire morning working on the lot in Springdale to construct a new home.
“The project is going really well,” said Michelle Davis, resource development manager for Habitat for Humanity. “The group has been wonderful – they showed up on time, they worked hard and seemed to have fun. Seeing them out there was marvelous, I’m really excited that this came together. They’re learning new skills and at helping somebody in need. That’s what it’s about – building the house and building community at the same time.”
All of the athletes gave very willingly with their time and energy on a sunny weekend morning, recognizing the importance of giving back to the local community. The student-athletes were excited about the opportunity to recognize the support they get during the season from the community, and take time out to give back.
“This is something that’s incredibly important,” said freshman soccer player Laura Fitzgerald
. “I’ve always had a strong sense of giving back, so it’s good to come to a team that also has the same core value of helping out our fellow Arkansas neighbor. It just feels really good to give back to the community that always comes out and supports us.”
“It’s good because we get so much from the university and the community,” said senior tennis player Claudine Paulson
. “It’s good to do something for them, too.”
The student-athletes got the opportunity early in the day to meet the future homeowner, a woman named Casey. Her appreciation deeply touched all those that were participating, and showed the true significance of the project.
“That was so touching,” said sophomore tennis player Sarah McLean
. “That was even more inspiring to do something good. It just shows how helping people can make a difference. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I built a wall and helped out the community. And I got to do it with my team and it was a really great bonding experience. We work really well together.”
In addition to the value of giving back, the project gave both teams the opportunity to enjoy some valuable team bonding through the shared experience. Being early in the academic year, the Habitat for Humanity project gave the two teams a chance to grow closer by working together on this project.
“For us, it’s something we always like to do, to contribute to programs like this,” women’s tennis head coach Michael Hagerty explained. “They’re all valuable, and for us, Habitat for Humanity is as valuable as anything we do. Especially with a young team this year, it’s a good bit of team bonding, as well as something we feel really good about. It’s funny because there was some hard work being done out there, but there also was a lot of laughing, a lot of fun. It’s a great combination of team building and really helping somebody out.”