@FGCUEagles Finish Runner-Up For National Community Service Award

CLEVELAND – FGCU Athletics has finished as a runner-up for the inaugural Community Service Award, as selected by representatives from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the Fiesta Bowl.
 
For its runner-up finish, FGCU will receive $5,000 to be donated toward a charity of its choosing, and department officials have elected to direct that gift to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. Additionally, FGCU will be presented a trophy by NACDA and Fiesta Bowl officials for permanent display.
 
"We are so proud of our friends at FGCU. Their student-athletes regularly volunteer in our Boys & Girls Clubs, and by doing so they inspire the next generation of FGCU students," said Shannon Lane, Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. "We are appreciative of the University and the Department of Athletics for their continued and impactful support of our after-school programs. It is a well-deserved recognition, and we wish congratulations to all involved!"
 
FGCU was announced this summer as one of just three finalists for the award along with East Carolina and Maryland, with Maryland eventually selected as the winner.
 
The award recognizes exceptional Division-I athletics departments that make volunteerism and community service a way of life.
 
"We are honored to have been chosen as a runner-up for this inaugural national recognition," stated FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh. "As demonstrated most recently with Hurricane Irma cleanup efforts, our student-athletes and staff take collective pride in giving back to our home community that does so much for us. Likewise, we are extremely proud to be members of an institution that fosters community service so much that it is a requirement to earn one's FGCU degree. Finally, it is heartwarming to be able to generate much-needed resources for our local inner-city Boys & Girls Clubs which play such a key role generating the next generation of leaders."
 
In a testament to Kavanagh's comments, FGCU requires 80 hours of documented service learning in order to graduate. As part of the "FGCU Effect," the entire campus community proudly shares in contributing to the number of service hours that students, faculty and staff log every year.
 
Each of the 15 teams within FGCU Athletics are required to complete a minimum of one community service project each academic year that involves at least 90 percent of their roster and which does not involve their sport. Most of the teams go above and beyond and perform at least two, and some even more. Via approximately 350 student-athletes and staff members, FGCU Athletics collectively volunteered more than 7,200 hours in 2016-17.
 
Most recently, many student-athletes, coaches and staff members helped aid in the cleanup efforts following Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Southwest Florida as a Category 3 storm. Whole teams assisted local organizations with items ranging from general landscaping to food and water packing and delivery.
 
Many teams have their own annual connections – such as the basketball teams conducting an "Eagle Reading" program with nearby elementary schools – but FGCU Athletics is associated with 30 organizations and three main community service programs which teams and student-athletes are encouraged to serve: Habitat for Humanity, the Galisano Children's Hospital and the local Harry Chapin Food Bank (HCFB).
 
Each year, FGCU Athletics has multiple teams that donate their time with Habit for Humanity via helping to build, paint and maintain homes that have already been constructed. More specifically, FGCU student-athletes have focused on the Harlem Heights community located in South Fort Myers – a poverty-stricken area comprised of many young, immigrant families with difficult housing scenarios. Through these outreach efforts, FGCU student-athletes have been afforded the heartwarming opportunity to help create better living situations for these citizens.
 
In terms of the HCFB, FGCU Athletics has assisted stocking shelves at both the local warehouse and the FGCU campus food bank, as well as participated in the annual "Hunger Walk" to generate resources and awareness of an important issue. Additionally, for the sixth time in the past seven years in 2017, student-athletes volunteered at the Galisano Children's Hospital "Spring Bling" prom event for youngsters battling cancer, as well as their families.
 
Making the commitment to service even more impressive for FGCU and its student-athletes is the success they continue to have in the classroom and in their athletic competitions.
 
FGCU student-athletes posted an overall cumulative and term GPA of 3.27 in the spring of 2017, exceeding the overall university undergraduate mark (3.08) for the 16th-consecutive semester.
 
On the strength of a 1st-place finish in the women's all-sports race and a 2nd-place showing in the men's all-sports standings, FGCU won the 2016-17 Bill Bibb Trophy and claimed the ASUN Conference All-Sports Championship for the third-straight year and fourth time in five seasons.
 
The Eagles have 15 teams, and in 2016-17 they combined to win 10 conference regular season and tournament titles, with seven teams achieving NCAA Tournament berths.
 
Women's Soccer: Regular Season & Tournament (NCAA)
Men's Soccer: Tournament (NCAA)
Men's Basketball: Regular Season & Tournament (NCAA)
Women's Basketball: Tournament (NCAA)
Swimming & Diving: Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championship (no regular season; NCAA)
Women's Tennis: Regular Season
Men's Tennis: Tournament (NCAA)
Baseball: Tournament (NCAA)
 
Additionally, volleyball, softball and beach volleyball all reached their respective ASUN Championship Final matches as the Eagles fell just short of adding three other championships to the trophy case in 2016-17.
 
Since joining the ASUN and D-I in 2007-08, FGCU has won an incredible 63 conference regular season and tournament titles, inclusive of eight CCSA crowns, for an average of more than six per season. Furthermore, in only six years of D-I postseason eligibility since 2011-12, FGCU has sent 20 teams to the NCAA Tournament, while men's golf (2012, 2013, 2015), swimming and diving (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) and men's tennis (2014) have had an individual(s) participate in their respective NCAA Championship, bringing the total NCAA appearances for FGCU to 30.
 
ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF LEE COUNTY
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County work to provide a safe place for children to explore their interests, gain knowledge and learn valuable life skills. It is through fundraising efforts within the community that the Boys & Girls Clubs are able to fulfill their mission, to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. As a proud United Way agency, the Club is staffed by youth development professionals who instill a sense of belonging, competence, usefulness and influence to the youth they serve.
 
IRMA RELIEF DONATIONS
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, many individuals and families throughout Southwest Florida are still in desperate need of assistance. To aid in those relief efforts, FGCU Athletics will be collecting donations at all Eagle home games for the immediate future. Donation items most needed include: non-perishable food, clothing, household items and first-aid supplies. Additionally, those unable to attend upcoming home games can drop off donations in canisters located in the Alico Arena lobby. All donations will be given to those hardest hit in Lee and Collier counties.

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