IWLCA Announces 2022 Community Awareness Award Winners
Three student-athletes honored with individual awards and four teams recognized
IWLCA announced that Emily Lortz of the University of Florida, Camryn Wales of Converse University, and Rachel Huebler from York College of Pennsylvania are the 2022 IWLCA Community Awareness Award Winners. Kent State University, Lee University, Marymount University, and St. Ambrose University have been recognized with the 2022 IWLCA Community Awareness Team Award.
The individual Community Awareness Award recognizes those student-athletes who have contributed significantly to their community in a given academic year. These students have given their time and energy to support and develop athlete-community relations and have distinguished themselves from their peers.
Emily Lortz, University of Florida
Lortz undertook several service efforts during her sophomore year at the University of Florida. Lortz was instrumental in the planning of the Special Olympics Race for Inclusion this past December and contributed to Gator Tracks, an initiative that helped wrap and deliver shoes to kids at Williams Elementary and Lake Forest Elementary. Alongside her lacrosse family, Lortz has adopted a young lady battling cancer through the Friends of Jaclyn Program. Lortz has selflessly devoted her time to helping others such as loading pallets at the Ukraine Humanitarian Drive, setting up a security system at St. Johns Church, and participating in the Gators Lunch Buddies Mentor Program where she had lunch and mentored students at Lake Forest Elementary. Lortz also cheered on and interacted with individuals with special needs during the drive-thru Night to Shine Prom event this past February.
Photo by Hannah White, courtesy of University of Florida Athletic Communications.
Camryn Wales, Converse University
Wales, a senior majoring in Education, serves as the Campus Student Chaplin at Converse University. She has led invocations and benedictions for events and planned spiritual life events on campus as a member of the religious life council. As FCA President, Wales has organized the Operation Christmas Child community service event and leads her teammates in Bible study. She has volunteered with several of her teammates to work multiple Miracle League events this past year and coaches for the Carolina Miners travel lacrosse team.
Photo courtesy of Converse University Athletic Communications.
Rachael Huebler, York College of Pennsylvania
Huebler, a senior majoring in Biology, has been very involved in serving on the York College campus, as well as in the surrounding community. She has cultivated and maintained a positive relationship with her “little sister” in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of York/Adams County program, and organized the BBBS York/Adams end-of-the-year gifts and crafts kits this past year. Her efforts earned her BBBS York/Adams Big Sister of the Year in January of 2022.
On her own campus, Huebler started the Student Academic Innovation Lab. She worked with faculty, staff, students, and the community to break down barriers and find more effective ways of teaching, learning, and connecting. In this platform, she was able to develop the Professor Passion Project, a first-year Rhetorical Communications class that provides students with the tools needed to hold conversations with professors. Huebler is also a four-year member of the Graham Scholars program at York and has served as a peer mentor to those involved.
Huebler organized a drive for Mr. Sandy’s Homeless Veteran Center in York, Pa. By collecting donations from her teammates, she was able to provide the shelter with food and supplies to distribute amongst those in need.
Photo courtesy of York College (PA) Athletic Communications.
The purpose of the Team Community Awareness Award is to recognize one team in each Division that has contributed significantly to their community during the previous academic year. Academics are not part of the award, and at least 50% of the team’s roster must have participated in community service activities to be eligible for the award.
Division I – Kent State University
In an effort to give back to the Kent State campus community, the Golden Flashes made several toiletry donations to the CARES (Crisis, Advocacy, Resources, Education and Support) center on campus and logged generous hours greeting incoming students and helping them move into their dorms in a campus initiative called Movers and Groovers. In the KSU Kickoff: Kent Day of Service, the athletes joined several of their peers, faculty, and staff in completing service projects on campus and throughout the community. Projects ranged from cleaning up the local Cuyahoga River, supporting the on-campus Flashes Fighting Hunger food pantry, and creating social justice-themed quilts to fundraising for a local community center. Along with several community service acts such as making birthday and holiday cards for the elderly and foster youth (6-18), the Golden Flashes also participated in a virtual fundraising awareness campaign called Million Mile designed to raise funds for childhood cancer research in September of 2021. They also collected goods and toys for their local Salvation Army throughout the season.
Photo courtesy of Kent State Athletics.
Division II - Lee University
The Lady Flames made great efforts in supporting the Lee University campus community while also making a local impact through numerous acts of service. Operation Christmas Child gave the Lady Flames an opportunity to pack Christmas boxes for the community. They also wrote Christmas Cards for cancer patients in an initiative sponsored by Austin Hatcher Foundation. In the Great Strides 5K, the team assisted in the setup, breakdown, and cleanup of the event. To support local business owners, the team facilitated a Community Showcase, a platform that allowed local business owners to display and sell their products. Sponsored by Student Engagement, the Lady Flames also put on the One Love Escalation workshop for the Lee University athletic department, which in turn was supported by community members.
Photo courtesy of Lee University Athletics.
Division III - Marymount University
The College Readiness Program gave the Saints an opportunity to work with potential incoming students on their applications, major selections, navigating financial aid, and ultimately attending college. The team hosted 50 members of the program for a campus visit day by providing campus tours, lunch, and Q&A sessions. In the spirit of the holidays, the team coordinated with the local church, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, to deliver 100 donated Christmas trees to local affordable housing communities, including setting up trees for some of the elderly recipients. The Saints also spent the day at AHC’s Woodbury Property as volunteers on Thanksgiving. Over 300 residents were able to enjoy a full Thanksgiving meal, as the team helped the kitchen as well as on the floor serving the residents. The team has logged weekly visits to help mentor and tutor the youth throughout the academic year in the AHC community tutoring and mentoring after-school program. In addition, the team hosted the Culpepper Garden Clean-Up which required the athletes to clean and prep a local senior community center’s grounds for gardens in the spring.
Photo by Jacob Brown, courtesy of Marymount Athletics.
NAIA – St. Ambrose University
The St. Ambrose women’s lacrosse team has made substantial efforts in serving the game of lacrosse and giving back to the community this year. Coordinated by the Fighting Bees, a free clinic was conducted this season to spread the knowledge of women’s lacrosse to elementary and high school girls in the community. The Fighting Bees also volunteered at the Quad City Marathon and SAU’s Annual BEE the Difference Day, which helps out members of the community. At the MLK Center in Rock Island, the team gift-wrapped toys and items that were donated by SAU student-athletes in the QC area. The team also continued their involvement with Team IMPACT and team member Rebekah Pace and volunteered at the Blues Festival in downtown Davenport.
Photo courtesy of St. Ambrose Athletics.