Aggies earn university honors for community service

June 20, 2017

Delvin Alexander
Athletics Communications Student Assistant

Complete list of honorees

DAVIS, Calif. -- Competitors on the field. Scholars in the classroom. Pillars in the community. UC Davis student-athletes and coaches found ways to give back as part of a group of 325 individuals and organizations recognized by the university for their work on various community service projects.

Honored in various categories based on their dedication to service, breadth, quality, and time committed to community service from March 2016 to February 2017, the group as a whole contributed more than 100,000 hours to helping those in need, benefitting those around them, strengthening communities, and positively impacting society.

The UC Davis men's and women's basketball teams each picked up bronze awards for their work in the community, with the men honored for the third straight season and the women recognized for the first time.

Stressing the importance of working and excelling in both athletics and academics, the women's basketball program has made trips to schools throughout the region, interacting in classrooms and on playgrounds in Davis, Woodland, Dixon, and Sacramento, as well as holding annual basketball clinics with Team Davis -- a local non-profit volunteer organization established to help enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental, intellectual, and/or physical disabilities.

“Our team is fortunate for the opportunity to connect with children in our community and be a positive influence in their lives," Head Coach Jennifer Gross said. "Our student-athletes and staff greatly enjoy working with teachers, assisting in classroom activities, and spending time discussing healthy life choices with elementary school kids. Our student-athletes recognize the unique opportunity to play collegiate sports and this is a wonderful way to give back.”

Making the trip to elementary schools throughout Yolo and Sacramento counties, the men's basketball team's reading program is designed to encourage local students to read as often as possible, reaching more than 23,000 elementary-aged children from a record 35 schools this past year -- its fifth year in existence.

"The student-athletes embrace their position as a role model and reading advocate because they all had mentors who helped them succeed in the classroom," Head Coach Jim Les said. "This is how they became students at the sixth-ranked public university in the nation. Every student-athlete, staff member, and coach, feels that this reading program is a phenomenal way to collaborate with local teachers and connect with students."

The UC Davis Student-Athlete Advisory Committee picked up a silver award for its numerous hours impacting the community, organizing events such as the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless in Davis and helping collect donations for the Big West Coin Drive to raise money for the Cal Aggie Camp.

"For me, I have always liked to be involved with the community," men's tennis senior Alec Adamson, a SAAC officer, said. "As student-athletes, we are given so much, it's always great to find ways to give back."

Among those individuals honored, former field hockey student-athlete Danielle Koehne was also recognized with a bronze award for her work with the Food Recovery Network, an organization that unites students on college campuses to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste in their communities and donating it to people in need.

“It is important to me to reduce the amount of waste I have at home, at work, at school, wherever I am, but it is even more important to raise awareness to this topic," Koehne said. “The main things that made me get involved with community service was seeing how much waste we have in our society. I helped the homeless to not be starving, and the dinning commons to reduce the amount of waste they had. Which all around helped the planet by more consumption than waste”

Camp Kesem at UC Davis (Emma Hicks, Gymnastics; Andrea Wong, women's golf)

UC Davis Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)

Basil Okoroike - men's track & field
Danielle Koehne - field hockey
Marrisa LaFreniere - women's swimming & diving
Dr. Michelle Roppeau
UC Davis Men's Basketball
UC Davis Women's Basketball