Last Friday, we told you about the penalties given to the University of Montana football team by the NCAA, and while it went largely unnoticed, last year marked record numbers for student athletes volunteering their time for community service.
"The response has been from the student athletes, 'how can we help, where can we go?' and I just appreciate the approach they've taken," says Haslam.
While the University has always done community service, this is the first year all the hours have been accounted for, something that was brought to the table when Haslam became the Athletic Director in the Fall of 2012
"When I took the job, I put out three prongs that we wanted to focus on. Athletics, Academics, and service to the community, and I appreciate their willingness to get out there, to catalog their hours, and to make sure we're giving back to the community," says Haslam.
700 Hours is quite a lot of time, nearly two hours per day on average, and they were all spent doing unique things to help the community.
"It's everything from painting the M, to working with local elementary schools and reading programs, to working at the Poverello Center, building a home for habitat for Humanity, those are some of the primary things they've been focused on, but it's been good for our student athletes to spend time, especially with young people, and the chance for them to be good role models for those young people," says Haslam.
The student athletes enjoy it, the administration supports it whole heartedly, and most importantly, the people in the community are appreciative as well.
"All of them are very happy, and I get a number of thank you notes, and posters, kids signatures on them, and that's the greatest reward. 700 hours are a lot, but we want to shoot for more, and have that grow each year, and make sure we're tracking and doing it well," says Haslam.