Freshman men’s tennis player Branch Terrell may be in his first year at the University of Arkansas, but he has already made his presence felt in the Razorback community in a big way. An active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Terrell has participated in a number of service events this year, was named to the 2015 SEC Men’s Tennis Community Service Team and was nominated Service Learning Chairman of SAAC last week.
A native of Benton, Arkansas, Terrell has been doing community service for much of his life.
“I’m very involved with my church back home,” Terrell said. “I started teaching Sunday school classes when I was a freshman in high school and then went on two mission trips later in high school. One trip was 10 days in the Dominican Republic and the other was 12 days in Kenya. Both were great experiences.”
Terrell carried his passion for serving the community to college with him, immediately getting involved with SAAC. As a part of SAAC, Terrell was a part of a number of service projects, including:
• RazorBuddies: Arkansas athletes are paired with a kid from a local elementary school who they meet with biweekly and act as a mentor to.
• Shop With SAAC: Nominated a child from a local elementary school to receive a gift card and then went shopping with the child to use the card to purchase Christmas toys.
• Sweat Hogs: Spoke to 200 kids at a local elementary school about the value of getting proper exercise, eating healthy and getting plenty of rest.
With the rest of the men’s tennis team, Terrell also taught tennis to kids in community for an afternoon in January. After his involvement in these projects, Terrell was named to the 2015 SEC Men’s Tennis Community Service Team in April.
“It was really cool being named to that team,” Terrell said. “Community service is very important to me and it felt good to be acknowledged for the work I’m doing.”
More recently, Terrell was voted Service Learning Chairman of SAAC.
“I’m really excited to get the position, it means a lot to me,” Terrell said. “I’ve had ideas, even before I knew what SAAC was, about how to get the university involved in things as far as volunteering goes. So I’m just ready to get into the position and get some of those things going.”
With the school year wrapping up, Terrell will have the summer to prepare for his new position with SAAC as well as for the 2015-16 tennis season. Despite juggling a busy schedule of tennis, service work and school, Terrell looks back on his first year as a Razorback fondly.
“My first year here has been awesome,” Terrell said. “Great year, great coaches, great teammates. We’re just a big family and it’s cool to see people who come from so many different backgrounds be so close and come together the way we have. Going forward, I just want to continue to get better at tennis and to serve the community around me.”
For more information on Arkansas men’s tennis, follow @RazorbackMTEN on Twitter.