A champion is someone who defeats or surpasses all rivals in competition, especially in sports. FIU women’s soccer team was the epitome of a champion in the community during the 2013-2014 academic year.
For their work in the community, the Panthers won the 2014 Dr. Paul D. Gallagher Community Service Award, which recognizes the FIU team that has accumulated the most community service points. It marks the second-straight season the women’s soccer program has won the award and the fourth time overall (2009 and 2011).
During the 2013-2014 academic year, the women’s soccer team accumulated 1,110 hours of community service. This is the second-consecutive year in which the Panthers have completed over 1,000 hours as they are still the only team at FIU to surpass the 1,000-hour plateau in an academic year.
“In our program we stress being good citizens,” Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt said. “We have the privilege of being a part of Division I athletics and with privilege comes responsibility. We stress that our student-athletes should strive to do their best in the classroom, on the field and help their community. I’m proud that our young women do a tremendous job of being a positive influence in the community with some very worthwhile causes. Moreover, by helping different groups in need, our young women learn more about themselves and the community they live in.”
Throughout the semester the Panthers volunteered at Chapman Partnership to feed the homeless, and tutored students at Dr. Carlos Finlay Elementary School. They also volunteered at the Special Olympics, MLK Day of Service, and the FIU Relay for Life.
Leading the way for FIU was redshirt sophomore Nikki Rios (97.75 hours of service) and junior Marie Egan (75.5 hours of service).
Back in December, redshirt sophomore Sara Stewart was recognized by Conference USA as a Spirit of Service Honoree, recognizing community service efforts of the league’s student-athletes, in combination with academic performance and on-field participation. Sixteen student-athletes throughout Conference USA earned the honors for the fall season.
A 2013-14 C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll honoree (3.0 GPA or better) completed 200 hours of community service this past summer, helping at a veterinarian’s office. The biology major also spent time tutoring local elementary children in math and science.
The community service program in the FIU Athletic Department was created to address civic responsibility, global citizenship, and active leadership. This program allows student-athletes to engage in the community as productive role models and positive social agents of change. The goal of the program is to empower student-athletes to make a difference in the community.