Athletics News

George Washington Student-Athletes Join GW Peers in MLK Day of Service

Members of the GW women's tennis team painting in Tacoma Park as part of MLK Day of Service.

Jan. 23, 2012

WASHINGTON - On Saturday, January 21st more than 400 GW community members participated in a day of service, lending a hand at sites that included five D.C. schools and 13 parks and recreation centers, as well as on projects to benefit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which supports families of deceased members of the military. Included in the group of volunteers were more than 100 GW student-athletes.

"This is a way to show our appreciation to the community that supports us and does so many things for us," said Patrick Nero, Director of Athletics and Recreation. "GW students and student-athletes have a passion for changing the world, and days like this help them grow as people and as leaders, and really show the community what this university and the Athletics and Recreation Department stand for."

At a packed kick-off rally in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom, Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service Executive Director Amy Cohen thanked the volunteers for their dedication to service, even on a snowy, icy January morning. "As Dr. King said, all men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality," she said. "By working together, we'll join our diversity to a common purpose."

In reference to serving alongside his peers, men's freshman basketball player John Kopriva noted that "GW is a community, and the student-athlete community is a part of that community. It's great to be out with the general student body, where we all have plenty of friends."

"Thanks for continuing to demonstrate your passion for changing the world, which is the hallmark of this student body--more than any other in this country," GW President Dr. Steven Knapp told the group. "Please keep serving."

Jesus Aguirre, interim director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, acknowledged to students and student-athletes that his agency and others in the District rely on the generosity of volunteers. "Our residents will be very grateful," he said, encouraging students to "live a life that respects and honors the opportunities we've had."

Of those opportunities that Aguirre spoke of, Kopriva agreed. "Being a GW basketball player is about so much more that just playing basketball," he identified.  "The community really gives us so much and supports us in all that we do, so we want to give back and its fun having the whole student body involved.  It's a huge community-building event.  GW continues to amaze me with how many opportunities there are to serve, and there's really no excuse not to do so."

Director of the Multicultural Student Services Center Michael Tapscott played excerpts from Dr. King's famous speeches and described his own experiences as a nine-year-old witnessing the March on Washington in 1963. He reminded students that Dr. King knew his death was imminent, but continued on the path of righteousness nonetheless. "In the spirit of King, I'd like you to maintain your enthusiasm for service," he said. "Do it with all your might, be active, be energetic, and you will achieve your object."