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Good sports

Rider’s student-athletes tally thousands of hours each year volunteering for community service

By Adam Grybowski | Fall 2016

Community service plays a major role in the mission of Rider Athletics to create well-rounded student-athletes who are studying and competing at the University. This year, Rider’s student-athletes and coaches tallied 3,888 hours of community service.

Rider has participated in the 11-team MAAC Goodworks Challenge, which runs annually from Sept. 1 to April 30, ever since it began in the 2009–10 academic year. Until this year, when a rule change altered the point system, schools that took part in the Challenge earned points for every hour volunteered, with bonus points awarded for large groups. Rider won the inaugural Goodworks Challenge, donating the $1,000 prize to Homefront, a nonprofit whose mission is to end homelessness in Central New Jersey. Since then, the University has finished in the top five each year.

PUTTING ON A CLINIC

Rider’s student-athletes undoubtedly have one thing in abundance to contribute to the world: their athletic talent! And they take many opportunities to share their skills with the next generation of up-and-coming athletes. 

Rider’s women’s teams hosted a free clinic for girls as part of National Girls and Women’s in Sports Day promoting female participation in all sports. The women’s basketball team held a basketball clinic at a Parkway Elementary School in Ewing, N.J., where students had the chance to meet the team and ask questions, as well as run through basketball drills. 

At a clinic of its own at Parkway Elementary, the men’s basketball team wowed the kids with a slam dunk contest and later mixed it up with the elementary-aged players during a game. Rider’s wrestling coaches joined the Wrestling Crew Wrecking Club to demonstrate proper technique and wrestling conditioning.

FEEDING THE HUNGRY

New Jersey consistently ranks as one of the most affluent states in the country, but not every resident is sharing in the wealth. More than one million people living in the Garden State suffer from food insecurity, meaning they lack access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food. 

Rider Athletics helps address the problem by collecting and delivering food baskets to local nonprofits and food banks dedicated to responding to hunger. This year, the baseball team served Thanksgiving lunch at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) and the wrestling team visited Mercer Street Friends, which is dedicated to addressing hunger in Mercer County, N.J., for Thanksgiving, delivering baskets of food for the underprivileged. Not stopping there, the team also helped organize and clean a local food bank. Other teams that got involved include field hockey and women’s basketball, which were seen on and off campus volunteering their time.

RAISING MONEY AND AWARENESS

The players and coaches at Rider do more than get involved; they truly make a difference by raising money and spreading awareness. 

In April, members of the men’s and women’s soccer and field hockey teams participated in Rider’s Relay for Life, the all-night event that raises awareness and funds for the battle against cancer. This year, Relay for Life raised more than $60,000.

Rider Athletics partnered with the local blood council to raise awareness about platelet donations and its benefits. Players and coaches also took part in the annual Stomp out Stigma walk, which is dedicated to promoting awareness about mental health. The men’s basketball team designed wall murals at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Hamilton, N.J., to show support for children with illnesses.

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