GW Cross Country to Pass 330 Hours of Community Service

George Washington cross country student-athletes are approaching 330 hours of community service for the 2011-12 school year.

March 30, 2012

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The George Washington cross country team heard the initiative loud and clear. Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero challenged the more than 400 student-athletes at GW to show appreciation for the surrounding communities and increase the amount of community service hours and projects as part of the recently released Strategic Plan for George Washington Athletics and Recreation.

The plan calls for GW student-athletes to help enhance and improve the quality of life in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area with a goal of community service and outreach. GW student-athletes are expected to support the community that supports GW, both throughout the neighborhoods surrounding campus and in D.C. public schools.

The men's and women's cross country teams elected to go above and beyond. Entering this weekend, the harriers are about to pass 330 hours of community service for the 2011-12 school year and have combined to raise money and awareness for nearly a dozen different causes in the Washington Metro area.

"One item that has always been important to the cross country team is community service," said senior captain Dan Kane. "With Mr. Nero's ambitions, we decided to go above and beyond the usual amount of service. As the captain of the men's cross country team, I set a lofty goal of 20 hours for each member of the team. The women's team did the same, and at this point in the year, many members of the program have already hit that number or have exceeded it."

The Colonials' harriers participated in nearly a dozen different community service projects, including:

- Freshman Day of Service - a university-wide initiative for incoming freshmen to volunteer and serve in the local community.

- Hunger Banquet (11/17/11) - an event to highlight the living situations of various income classes by "serving" a dinner, with participants representing the various social classes.

- Fall Food Drive (11/18/11) - a canned food drive sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service held across campus in academic buildings and dormitories; GW cross country team members helped sort the donated food with the CCE.

- Help the Homeless Walk-a-thon - (11/19/11) - a charity walk on the National Mall aimed at raising money to help the homeless of D.C. and raise homelessness awareness; Members of the GW women's cross country team participated and raised money for the walk.

- Lerner Health and Wellness Center Inaugural 5K Turkey Trot - (11/19/11) - members of the GW men's cross country squad participated alongside other athletes, students and university members in the 5K around the National Mall.

- Special Olympics Basketball Game - GW student-athletes sat and talked with disabled athletes during a basketball game sponsored by the Special Olympics that featured two Special Olympics basketball teams at halftime.

- Girls on the Run - (12/3/11) - Girls on the Run is a character development program for girls in third through eighth grade that aims to enhance girls' confidence, health and happiness through the sport of running; members of the GW cross country teams volunteered with set-up and a water stop at one of the D.C. organization's races at American University.

- MLK Day of Service - (1/21/12) - a university-wide initiative to volunteer in the D.C. community in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; the GW cross country teams helped paint murals and doors at a community center in Langdon.

- DC Reads - a Washington-based organization that has aimed to increase the literacy rate in the nation's capital through partnership with local universities since 1996; Junior Heather Stevens is a member of GW's section and volunteers with the organization every week.

- GW Birthday Classic 10k - (2/18/12) - an annual charity race held in Alexandria, Va.; in celebration of our namesake's birthday, the GW cross country team volunteered at the race by working a water stop with our mascot, George.

- Relay for Life Fundraising - (3/3/12, 3/8/12) - Relay for Life is a nationally renowned charity organization that holds events across the country to help fight cancer; the GW Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) is sponsoring a team for the Relay event on April 14, 2012, so members of the cross country squads volunteered to work two gymnastics meets in order to raise money for the team. Their paychecks from these meets were automatically donated to SAAC's Relay for Life team.

Several GW cross country harriers will continue to add to their impressive total of 330 hours at this weekend's Clinton Global Initiative University 2012 on GW's Foggy Bottom campus.

For more information on the CGIU, please click here.

"The cross country team is no different from the university as a whole," said Kane. "We are made up of people from various backgrounds with our own goals, ambitions and causes that we support. The component that spreads across all of the events that we have participated in is that they aim to help and improve the D.C. community that we represent during competition."



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