Division II

Make-A-Wish: Lindenwood University

Carissa is an 11-year-old diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Carissa's journey for her wish to be granted began in fall 2015, but was delayed multiple times for health complications. Lindenwood was matched with her at the beginning of the spring 2017 semester as she was finally cleared to go on her cruise. During Lindenwood's ESPY-like award show, "The Roars," Carissa was invited to present an award to the team that raised the most money for Make-A-Wish. Little did she know, she was not up there only to present an award. In front of 600 student-athletes, Lindenwood's SAAC surprised Carissa by revealing she would be going on a Disney cruise with her family. It started with a beach hat and a towel, and it ended with one of their executive board members popping out of a large box with a sign revealing her wish was being granted.

Lindenwood was granted a wish reveal after fundraising $6,900, which was the highest amount in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

Award of Excellence: Texas A&M International University

On Sept. 20, 2016, over 60 Texas A&M International student-athletes rallied around homeless veterans in the south Texas community. More than 70 percent of the men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball teams worked together with over 40 local and regional businesses and service providers to provide more than 800 services to 76 veterans and 10 citizens in Laredo and the south Texas region.  Some of the services provided to veterans were dental, physical and mental health, housing, transportation, haircuts and essential needs such as food and water. Additionally, student-athletes had the opportunity to exchange stories of service, perseverance and strength with many of the veterans. The Texas A&M International athletics department donated over 500 pairs of socks in addition to the 200-plus hours of community service to assist those in need.