FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Last year, Northern Arizona University student-athletes performed an incredible 4,378 total community service hours setting a new department record. During the 2014-15 academic year, Lumberjack student-athletes outdid themselves resetting the record with over 5,000 hours out in the Flagstaff community and the greater Northern Arizona region in an outstanding department-wide effort to give back.
In all, NAU's student-athletes totaled 5,327 hours of community service during the recently completed academic year – nearly 1,000 more hours than last year's record total and almost 1,500 hours more than the year prior. After eclipsing 4,000 hours for the first time in school history in 2013-14, the Lumberjacks set even higher expectations this year surpassing the 5,000 hour threshold.
"We are inspired, daily, by the work of our student-athletes in the classroom, in competition and in the community," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos. "Our students are committed to giving back and believe that community outreach goes beyond the playing field. As collegiate athletes, they have a great opportunity to positively inspire individuals not only in Flagstaff, but throughout Northern Arizona."
NAU Athletics won a total of seven conference championships this year, but its impact was even greater in the community. Lumberjack student-athletes made their faces known right from the start with helping incoming freshmen move into their residence halls during Welcome Back Jacks and never stopped throughout the year. Among the many community service projects the student-athletes participated in this year, Red Ribbon Week, MLK Jr. Day of Service and National Girls & Women in Sports Day were staples. NAU also reimplemented Student-Athlete for a Day and continued work with Special Olympics, Toys for Tots and much more. The Lumberjacks also gave back through clinics, visiting St. Judes and doing community outreach with the Phoenix Suns.
"Our student-athletes completed almost 1,000 more hours than they did last year which is a testament of the tremendous job they've done of getting out into the community and giving back," said Assistant Director for Academic Services Megan Greene. "It is an amazing opportunity for our student-athletes to learn the importance of giving back and making a difference in the lives of others including their own."
Cassidy McLean of NAU's soccer team and Dejzon Walker of NAU's football team were voted this year's Jacks That Give Back.
McLean, a junior from Las Vegas, Nev., completed over 40 hours of community service including work outside the department volunteering as a Young Life leader at Flagstaff High School and participating in a house building trip in Mexico for the last three years.
Walker, a senior from Chandler, Ariz., performed over 60 hours of service in the community including significant work with PrimeTime athletics teaching youth life skills through the importance of teamwork and advocating for NFL Play 60 to push for in-school sustaninable programs to come to Flagstaff to help combat childhood obesity in the community.
Check out stories from the 2014-15 academic year: