At Neumann University in Aston, PA, student athletes are encouraged to include service to others in their team events. Joining together in acts of service to the local community brings the team closer together in the spirit of the Catholic mission of their university.
Last fall, Neumann University’s field hockey team was in Scranton, PA for a game, where an alumna and former team captain serves as a Jesuit Volunteer at a local soup kitchen. The team decided this would be the perfect opportunity to join in her work and connect with each other and the community through service.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams soon after joined the initiative and hosted middle and high school students from the Caring People Alliance, a West Philadelphia organization committed to serving children and strengthening families. The soccer teams spent the day getting to know the visiting students, discussing college and career goals, and playing soccer.
These activities flow directly from Neumann University’s Catholic, Franciscan identity and university mission. Service truly is at the heart of the University and plays a unique role in the relationships among athletes and between athletes and the local community.
Lauren Sciocchetti, a student currently on the women’s soccer team, reflects: “The ability to share [in service] with your teammates and lean on each other… is so important.” As athletes, one important element of the success of the team is the bond among teammates. By encouraging the athletes to “share in service,” Neumann University adds a spiritual element to this bond, supporting the university mission of service to others.