Laker student-athletes recently placed first nationally among all Division III programs in winning the NCAA Team Works Community Service Competition Award, which recognizes student-athletes’ service to their respective communities through divisional competitions.

NCAA Team Works, which coordinates community service efforts at NCAA championships, and Helper Helper, a volunteer management and tracking platform, launched the community service competition to recognize student-athletes and schools who give back to their communities.

Oswego State’s student-athletes tallied nearly 2,400 hours of community service during the competition, highlighted by more than 400 Lakers spending more than 1,000 combined hours supporting the community on all levels, from raking leaves for senior citizens to the popular Holiday Skate With the Lakers, a United Way fundraiser that is a favorite of local children and families.

“We believe that engaging in the community portrays a prime example of the culture at SUNY Oswego,” said Taylor Hudon, a senior for the women’s ice hockey team.

“Participating in local community involvement benefits our team dynamic by allowing us to give back to our gracious fan base," Hudon added. "We prioritize the stage that we as hockey players must influence younger players and continue to develop a family through our involvement.”

Additionally, Oswego State’s student-athletes participated in a variety of opportunities to raise awareness for ovarian cancer and Peaceful Remedies, which aims to improve the healing experience for those impacted by life-altering illnesses. Peaceful Remedies was founded by Mary Gosek, the late wife of Oswego State men’s ice hockey head coach Ed Gosek.

“Community engagement and service is part of our program’s foundation,” Ed Gosek said. “Providing our student-athletes with diverse opportunities to become immersed in our local community supports Oswego’s mission for our students to pursue a meaningful life as a productive, responsible member of society.”

In placing first in Division III, Oswego State finished ahead of other standout work by Saint Mary’s (Minnesota) in second and George Fox in third.

The University of Miami won the Division I honor, with Georgian Court earning the award for Division II.

This was the 10th year of the competition, which ran Sept. 1 through Dec. 15, 2022, and is based on the number of service hours completed and the number of participating student-athletes. Helper Helper tracks the school participation data throughout the competition.

For schools that opted into the challenge, their total service hours were 218,594 hours, more than double last year’s total. The estimated economic impact of those service hours was $6.5 million, based on the calculation by the organization Independent Sector of the national value of a volunteer hour.

“The NCAA is very proud of the outstanding work all student-athletes do across the country year-round in their communities,” said Victor Hill, associate director of the NCAA’s office of inclusion, education and community engagement. “Congratulations to this year’s three divisional winners for their dedication to help others and continue the culture of giving back on their respective campuses.”