Athletics News

Leading the Way From the Nation's Capital

GW Gymnastics volunteers at the annual Buddy Walk, which benefits the National Down Syndrome Society.
Dec. 18, 2015

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It has been a productive fall semester for student-athletes of the George Washington Athletics Department.

Three teams were crowned champions as the men's and women's soccer teams each won respective Atlantic 10 Regular Season championships. Women's sailing also won its first-ever title by placing first at the MAISA Fall Dinghy Championship.

Academically, GW student-athletes are wrapping up finals week and continue to boast one of the highest cumulative grade-point averages in the nation. Last spring, 11 varsity programs were recognized with a perfect graduation rate by the NCAA.

On Friday, the Colonials officially became national champions in the community-service realm. In an official competition sanctioned by HelperHelper, GW took home the crown as the most active community service athletic department in the nation for the fall semester.

"GW student-athletes aspire toward a triad of components to become champions in their lives," said GW Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero. "Not only do they seek to achieve at the highest levels both in competition and in the classroom, but these results are evidence of their tireless work to be champions in the community as well. We are extremely proud of this recognition, but we're even prouder of our outstanding student-athletes who view it as their responsibility to make their community a better place."

HelperHelper is an application that serves as a charitable scoreboard, allowing student-athletes around the country to compete amongst their peers while serving surrounding communities and those in need. Users can keep track of their hours served and compare to other teams at their school and refer back to their initiatives at any time, such as when working on their resume or filling out job applications.

"HelperHelper is a really neat app for logging and recording hours," said GW Athletics Academic Support Assistant Shelby McKay. "We can organize different initiatives and events on the app and our students can log on and see the options and choose what to attend on their own, without being directed by us. I haven't set up many opportunities for our students this year, which means they are taking it upon themselves to find opportunities and mobilize on their own."

GW's student-athletes have taken home a community service championship before after winning the Atlantic 10's inaugural Assists Challenge in 2013-14 with over 5,130 hours of service. Throughout the semester, HelperHelper's twitter account (@HelperHelperApp) has been providing weekly national rankings. The Colonials have been in first place in the competition since week 10.

"HelperHelper's social media accounts have been providing weekly updates for the national competition," explained McKay. "In the coming months they will be transitioning into head-to-head competition between teams from different schools. For instance, our gymnastics team is currently the third-ranked team in the nation in terms of service hours. Down the road they will go head-to-head with another team from another university, such as the Louisville baseball team, in a bracket-style tournament."

Taylor Redmond, the senior captain of the Colonials' gymnastics team, acknowledges that GW's athletics teams were aware of the national competition, but she insists that is low in importance when it comes to the true reason for giving back.

"I believe that the community service initiatives are not driven by competition, but instead by a desire to help those in need," said Redmond. "I think that the student-athletes here, while competing against each other for the amount of hours that we give back, truly donate their time for selfless reasons."

Women's tennis senior Lana Robins explains that the Colonials prefer to focus on things on a more personal level.

"We all know about the national contest because it was announced by SAAC and the rankings have been shown on the internet and at basketball games, but it wasn't really a motivating factor for our team," said Robins. "Our main focus is providing service to our surrounding communities and giving back. We are also motivated by the possibility of winning a Georgey Award at the end of the year, as that provides us some bragging rights among our Athletics Department. If we end up winning the national competition then that is an added bonus."

Although the fall competition is over, don't count on GW student-athletes being content with a championship and closing up shop.

"Our service projects allow us to give back to a community that has continued to show loyalty and dedication to our Athletics Department for several years," said Redmond. "We are forever grateful for the support that we have received and we will continue to give back to help serve those in need. We have truly made an impact and a difference and it will always be a focus of ours, long after we leave GW."