Landis Center for Community Engagement and Athletics teamed up to coordinate a day of service in Easton
By Kelly Huth
Athletics teams paused practice Tues., Nov. 7, and sent 70 student-athletes from baseball, softball, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, track and field, and swimming and diving to volunteer in the Easton community.
At the YMCA of Easton, Phillipsburg & Vicinity, student-athletes painted with elementary-age students, played dodgeball and chess, and participated in classroom activities. Athletes lent some muscle to Easton Area Community Center to paint, organize, and clean the center. At Paxinosa Elementary School, volunteers spent the day sorting and organizing donated clothes for Family Connection, which will be provided for Easton-area families. Athletes also spent time at Third Street Alliance reading to students, working on activities with children in the Learning Center, and playing in the gym.
“The partnerships that are formed between the College and the surrounding Easton community through these connections are so important,” says Sarah Morgan, program manager for Landis Center for Community Engagement. “Engaging with the community strengthens the students’ personal growth, and also strengthens the connections between Lafayette College and the City of Easton.”
Morgan explains the activities were organized in honor of NCAA’s Civic Engagement Day. The NCAA legislation gives D-I student-athletes a day off on Election Day to participate in civic engagement. According to the NCAA, the goal is to increase voting among student-athletes and allow a day dedicated to social responsibility, philanthropy, activism, education, and community outreach.
Carly Riepenhoff, associate athletic director for student-athlete services, says Lafayette teams have participated since the legislation was approved in 2020. Riepenhoff notes Lafayette athletic teams have a long history of serving the community, but this legislation allowed them to participate in programs as a whole department where student-athletes from multiple teams could join together for a larger impact.
“Our Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) does a wonderful job of inspiring their fellow student-athletes to get involved in various initiatives and fun events throughout the community, campus, and within the athletic department,” Riepenhoff says. “The first few years of this legislation they focused on voter registration and education. With that foundation laid, they turned their focus outward to serve the community this year.”
Riepenhoff and Colleen McNamara ’24, president of SAAC and a member of the lacrosse team, worked with Morgan to connect athletes to local youth organizations. With Easton Area School District closed for Election Day, Morgan reached out to Landis’ long-standing community partners to offer assistance to those who would have children with working parents in their care. Morgan determined their needs, devised a schedule, and created shifts for student-athletes.
“The student-athletes become part of Easton beyond Lafayette’s campus and gain a broader perspective of the community as a whole,” Morgan says. “Our community partners truly value the contributions of Lafayette student volunteers, and recognize the mentorship and positive role modeling they provide through engaging with local children.”
Lafayette students shared their time, energy, and expertise with several community organizations in the last few weeks.Read more