by Adam Zundell
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Fairmont State's community engagement iniatitive, "Getting To Know You," was named best in the WVIAC by the NCAA earlier this month.
The NCAA selected one winner from each of the 18 conferences in Division II. Fairmont State was among those 18 schools and received $500 for its award-winning campaign. Benedict College's program, "Daniel Burgess Tricycle Relays" was the overall national winner. The Division II council has emphasized bringing community to campus to experience collegiate events and is in its second year in sponsoring the Community Engagement Awards of Excellence.
Fairmont State's campaign centered around the opening football game against Clarion. Local groups, such as the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, were encouraged to come and meet the new president at the school at the game. At the same time, football student-athletes went out in the community to hand out wrist bands, schedule cards and posters, personally inviting the community to come to the game and support the school. The idea was to make the experience of going to a Fairmont State athletic event personal to the community by knowing the players, as well as the new president.
To be considered for the award, Fairmont State developed a booklet (PDF) and submitted a DVD outlining the event(s) and its success.
"I am so proud of this effort, mainly because so many groups came together for the common interest of Fairmont State," said Adam Zundell, director of athletic media relations, who helped coordinate the efforts and handled the submission to the NCAA. "This event was successful on many different levels, one of them being recognition at the national level from the NCAA. In my time here, whenever the community has been challenged to come and support Fairmont State, it does so in standout fashion.
"I can't thank the campus groups enough for their support and involvement to help make it a great night for all fans and students," Zundell concluded.
"We are thrilled to be recognized as one of the top schools in the country in this regard," said Rusty Elliott, director of athletics. "Community support is a top priority for us as a school and athletic department, as evidenced by this national recognition. Adam (Zundell) did a great job in helping us get this started, and then we received such great support from the Chamber of Commerce and people on campus like Devanna Corley, Tina Mascaro and Laurie Johnston, just to name a few. It takes a lot of people to pull something like this off, but when we all work together, great things like this happen."