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College players celebrate National Student-Athlete Day, donate food to Indy community

NCAA student-athletes representing Indiana colleges and universities participated in a community outreach initiative and celebrated their peers who have excelled academically, athletically and in their communities as part of National Student-Athlete Day celebrations, Tuesday, March 31 at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis.

Colleges and universities participating in the National Student-Athlete Day activities, powered by education and community engagement include the University of Indianapolis; Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis; Butler University; Anderson University; Franklin College; Earlham College; the University of Evansville; and Indiana University.   The student-athletes represent a wide range of academic majors and sports.

The student-athletes, along with national office staff, athletics administrators and local youth, worked with Thrive 360, a group that creates nutritious meal packages for malnourished children and their families in Indiana and developing countries.  Thrive 360’s overall goal is to help individuals move from starvation to self-sufficiency.  More than 20,000 meals were packed and picked up by Gleaners Food Bank after the community project and provided to families and individuals throughout Indiana.  There will also be a professional development activity focusing on social media training for the NCAA student-athletes in the afternoon.

“National Student-Athlete Day is an excellent way to put the spotlight on the great academic and athletic accomplishments of NCAA student-athletes and celebrate the way student-athletes are giving back to their community,” said Franklin.  “We enjoy bringing student-athletes to the national office and positively contributing to their overall student-athlete experience.”

Speakers for the day included NCAA president Mark Emmert; NCAA executive vice-president for regulatory affairs Oliver Luck, who provided a keynote speech at lunch; and executive vice-president for education and community engagement/chief inclusion officer Bernard Franklin, who provided closing comments. Dr. Franklin oversees the NCAA leadership development department that coordinates the National Student-Athlete Day project at the national office in collaboration with NCAA Team Works, Community 101.

National Student-Athlete Day is generally recognized on April 6 nationwide, but is celebrated the end of March throughout the month of April.  Student-athletes celebrate National Student-Athlete Day in a variety of ways on or around their college campuses each year, which can include hosting youth clinics, honoring their peers for their academic accomplishments, speaking engagements at elementary and high schools and other local outreach initiatives. To see how others are celebrating follow the hastag #NatlSADay or click here.