By Erica Wells '19
For more than 50 years, Appalachia Service Project (ASP) has welcomed thousands of volunteers from around the country to the Central Appalachia region to repair homes for low-income families. Over spring break, the Dickinson Field Hockey and Volleyball programs joined together for a week of volunteer service with ASP in Jonesville, Virginia.
The teams spent the week re-roofing houses and installing walls in homes for families in need. "Spending a week in a new part of the country, especially one that is so greatly impacted by widespread rural poverty, gave me a profound sense of gratitude for the privileges I too often take for granted," said Hannah Grothusen '22, a first-year field hockey student-athlete.
As a joint venture, this experience gave both field hockey and volleyball student-athletes the chance to collaborate in service, and bond with fellow Red Devil student-athletes. The teams focused on effective communication and developing trust in one another. The week involved lot of trial and error, so ability to work as a cohesive unit was important.
"Collaborating with the field hockey team was really great," shared Hanna Riley '22, a first-year volleyball student-athlete. "It was refreshing to problem solve and work with other student-athletes, aside from my teammates I regularly train and practice with."
The experience embodied the missions of both Dickinson and Division III, to provide education and a platform for service through athletics. The field hockey and volleyball programs showed that it is about more than just competitive athletics and academics – success also comes in the form of serving community and making a positive impact.
"I know that DIII is about so much more than what we accomplish on the court and in the classroom," Riley reflected. "It's amazing to see what we could achieve as a team aside from titles and records."
Riley's head coach, Andrew Pile, feels the same about the Division III student-athlete experience, and is confident that the week-long service experience enhanced it.
"DIII stands for providing a well-rounded college experience. We want the true meaning of the word 'student-athlete' to stand out," Pile shared. "We believe in working to build great all-around individuals within our programs. This process is bigger than the sport itself."