|ISU student-athletes reciprocate the community support|
|Written by J. Ross Mason, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Monday, 01 November 2010 19:09|
As awe inspiring as many sports teams are, many would be nothing without the cities which house them.
What would the Red Sox be without Boston? Would the Bears be so loved anywhere but Chicago? Would the Knicks have claimed the same glory without New York behind them?
This trend carries over to collegiate sports as well. Cities give so much of themselves in support of college sports teams, and Illinois State is no exception.
When the season kicks into full gear, no matter the sport, the twin cities deck themselves out in red to support the ‘Birds.
Posters adorn the streets, and neon signs light up the windows of businesses throughout the metropolis.
“Redbird sports, basketball in particular, is entertaining to follow,” Ian Fetters, an ISU graduate student and avid Redbird basketball fan said. “They provide a fun alternative for students, alumni to take part in, as well as giving all members of the Bloomington-Normal community something to get behind and support.”
The community of Bloomington-Normal is just as much a part of Redbird athletics as the students, alumni and athletes are.
With that in mind, every year the Redbird student-athletes of each ISU team go out of their way to give back to the communities that give them so much.
“Illinois State athletics have been actively contributing in the community for years,” ISU Associate Athletics Director Jane Fulton said. “It used to be 1,000 hours of community service per year for the teams combined. But in 2005, the teams got together and voluntarily doubled the amount to 2,000 hours.”
Student-athletes have a lot on their plates. Not only do they have to deal with the rigors of academia, but they also have to make time for training, practice and games.
But even though they have so much facing them, they still manage to find the time to volunteer at a number of organizations throughout the city.
“The student-athletes are giving back all across the community,” Fulton said. “They volunteer everywhere from at Home Sweet Home Ministries, which is the homeless shelter in town, to programs such as the Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society and Recess Buddies.”
Not only does ISU athletics regularly volunteer with programs and organizations such as these, but they also host many important functions every year.
For instance, the Illinois State baseball team will be hosting a blood drive for the American Red Cross, something they have been doing for years.
The Redbirds also find the time to give back during the holidays. Specifically, the men’s and women’s golf teams are getting involved with the Salvation Army this year.
When the time comes, members from both golf teams will bundle up and head out to the streets to ring bells for donations.
“During the holidays, the different teams put forth a lot of effort to give back,” Fulton said. “They participate in a variety of organizations, such as Christmas for Kids and the Salvation Army.”
The Festival of Trees is another that ISU will be participating in. The festival is an annual event that last year, raised $215,000. Throughout the years this event has raised over $1 million for The Baby Fold programs.
“The Festival of Trees is one of the bigger events we take part in,” Fulton says. “This is a program that directly helps children and families in need, and ISU athletics has been volunteering and helping make the event a success for years.”
ISU athletics know how important the community is. They do not have to give their time but they do anyways.