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Division II names 2019 Award of Excellence finalists

Winner will be announced at 2019 NCAA Convention

By Madison Arndt

Twenty schools and one conference have been named finalists for the 2019 Division II Award of Excellence, an accolade recognizing campus and community engagement initiatives taken on in the past year.

Division II honors its members each year for conducting events that exemplify any of the six Division II attributes: learning, balance, resourcefulness, sportsmanship, passion and service. A committee of athletics administrators determined this year’s finalists, and the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will select the winner, which will be announced at the Division II business session at the 2019 NCAA Convention on Jan. 26 in Orlando, Florida.

Each finalist will receive $500. The winner will receive $1,500 and a football game or basketball doubleheader that will be featured in the 2019-20 regular-season media agreement. The first runner-up will receive $1,250, and the second runner-up will receive $1,000. All prize money is intended for future community engagement events.

The following are the 2019 finalists, alphabetized by conference:

School: UC San Diego 

Conference: California Collegiate Athletic Association

Event: Adopt-A-Family event in conjunction with the Neighborhood House Association of San Diego. Student-athletes led an event that pairs teams with families in need during the holiday season. The teams helped to raise funds and purchase gifts.

School: Goldey-Beacom

Conference: Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference

Event: Veterans of the Summit: Stories of Service project. Student-athletes visited veterans at a nursing home to transcribe some of their stories into written words.

School: Barton

Conference: Conference Carolinas

Event: Team IMPACT. The baseball team paired with Team IMPACT to help a young boy with a blood disorder accomplish his dream of being part of a college baseball team.

School: Roberts Wesleyan

Conference: East Coast Conference

Event: King for a Day, a partnership with RochesterCares. Students and student-athletes celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by volunteering in the community, showing service for others does not stop at race, age or difference in views.

School: Arkansas Tech

Conference: Great American Conference

Event: Tech-O-Ween/Tucker Treat. Students and student-athletes provided a safe space to celebrate Halloween on campus with a festival, haunted hall, hayrides and trick or treating.

School: Michigan Tech

Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Event: Copper Country Strong. The athletics department and student-athletes helped clean up and raise funds through designated events and auctions for the surrounding community after a devasting flood damaged roads and buildings.

Conference: Great Lakes Valley Conference

Event: Someone To Listen: Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Student-athletes from the conference’s member schools gathered to create public service announcements about student-athlete mental health and the importance of seeking out help and supporting others by listening. 

School: Walsh

Conference: Great Midwest Athletic Conference

Event: Swipe To Give Back. Student-athletes gave back to their community using their remaining meal swipes on their student ID cards, allowing those leftover swipes to be turned into actual meals off campus for people in need.

School: Simon Fraser

Conference: Great Northwest Athletic Conference

Event: Red Night Carnival. A theme night at a volleyball match ignited passion within the athletics community and student body and helped the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee raise money for Make-A-Wish.

School: Montevallo

Conference: Gulf South Conference

Event: Halloween Spooktacular. Softball student-athletes hosted the second annual event on Halloween night, featuring a free carnival with games and prizes for children of all ages.

School: Rogers State

Conference: Heartland Conference

Event: Partner in Education, Claremont Elementary Day. The athletics department and student-athletes partnered with the elementary school to give young students the gift of VIP treatment at a home basketball game.

School: Midwestern State

Conference: Lone Star Conference

Event: 24 Strong Week. The Midwestern State athletics community spent a week honoring late student-athlete Robert Grays. Each athletic team completed various acts of kindness in Robert’s honor on the one-year anniversary of his death.

School: Missouri Western

Conference: Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association

Event: Big Game. Each year the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee selects one team in the fall semester and one team in the spring semester for its Big Game event. Over 100 student-athletes and coaches tailgated and provided a game-day atmosphere during one of the Missouri Western State men’s golf tournaments.

School: Virginia at Wise

Conference: Mountain East Conference

Event: Athletics Shoebox Packing Party. As part of the college’s Campus Shoebox Campaign, student-athletes and staff worked together to pack, wrap and ship shoeboxes containing school supplies, hygiene items, clothing and toys to kids all over the world.

School: Pace

Conference: Northeast-10 Conference

Event: Pride Hoops Night. The men’s and women’s basketball teams paired up with the LGBTQA Center to host a special game night to celebrate its inclusiveness and diversity.

School: Southwest Minnesota State

Conference: Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

Event: Hy-Vee KidsFit. The school teamed up with Marshall Public Schools and Hy-Vee to promote health, exercise and nutrition to young children who are participating in KidsFit in an event hosted on campus.

School: Georgia College

Conference: Peach Belt Conference

Event: Tailgate Tour. The tour brought together the Georgia College community to help highlight the unique features of the campus. It centered on a home athletic event for each team in an effort to provide an unforgettable game-day environment.

School: Gannon

Conference: Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference

Event: Friday Night Lights. The athletics department hosted a program to engage local youth in physical activity and expose them to new sports and positive role models.

Schools: Regis (Colorado) and Colorado School of Mines

Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference

Event: Team IMPACT Christmas Carnival. In a joint effort, both schools’ athletics departments brought  Team IMPACT players and teammates together for a night of fun, games and Christmas activities.

School: Coker

Conference: South Atlantic Conference

Event: Food Recovery Network. The men’s lacrosse team has been working with Coker’s dining services to re-establish the school’s chapter with the national Food Recovery Network, a program that works to fight food waste and feed those in need through food recovery.