Wildcats Give Back

March 5, 2015
By Kelly McHugh
K-State student-athletes and coaches have done their part this winter to give back to the community that gives them so much.
From the Student Athlete Advisory Committee's (SAAC) work getting student-athletes involved with the Manhattan Emergency Shelter to the men's basketball team's efforts in raising money for the American Cancer Society, many have worked hard to do their part and give back.
"It's really cool because we're given so much as student-athletes," said equestrian junior Nicholle Hatton of Parker, Colorado. "K-State practically pays for our schooling, we have the performance table and we're given the opportunity to practice, travel and ride, so it's really cool to be able to give back to this community. They're the ones we do it for. We ultimately do it for the fans; it's great to see the fans come and support us. To know that we're able to give back to them and make that difference, that's been great."
Hatton represents the equestrian team as a member of SAAC and, most recently, participated with her teammates at K-State's Tipoff for TP event.
Before the women's basketball game against TCU on Feb. 11, and the men's basketball game against Oklahoma on Feb. 14, Wildcat student-athletes met fans at every entrance of Bramlage Coliseum to collect products and donations for the Manhattan Emergency Center from incoming fans. 
"We started off by choosing the games we wanted to collect at," explained Hatton on what went into setting up this year's Tipoff For TP. "We knew we wanted it to be at the bigger basketball games, so we picked out two Big 12 games, then we made the fliers and put them out to the community. We got radio stations to announce it and we put posters up in the bathrooms for the games leading up to it. Basically, we tried to get the word out to fans and reminded people as much as we could leading up to that date."
A completely student-organized and student-run event, Tipoff for TP collected 1,200-plus products (toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, cleaning supplies, etc.) for those in need and collected a total of $1,932.06 in donations.
"Having the student athletes out at each gate, it let the community see that we're not just athletes, we're students and we do things for the community as well," explained men's golf sophomore Matt Green of Lenexa, Kansas. "It was really cool. There were a lot of big donations that we got, but it was also surprising to see the amount of students that donated. We had a lot more students at our gate, and it was great to see them pull out their change or a few bucks here and there."
But it wasn't just the Wildcat fans that took the time to donate.
"I think the coolest thing was seeing the OU fans donate at the men's game," added Hatton. "I was by the ticket office, so we had a lot of OU fans come in and they'd see the bucket of money and the tub of toilet paper and say, 'That's really cool. I can donate a couple bucks to that.'"
SAAC participates in numerous community-service opportunities throughout the year from Cats in the Classroom, where student-athletes spend time in local elementary schools, to hosting Cats for Cans before a football game. This past fall, K-State student-athletes raised more than $10,000 for the Flint Hills Breadbasket through Cats for Cans. 
"It's nice to be able to give back to someone who has given you so much," said volleyball sophomore Sheridan Zarda of Shawnee, Kansas. "It is kind of in that family aspect - this K-State family always gives you what you need, so it's nice to be able to give them back to them in return."
Giving back it doesn't just stop with the student-athletes though; the Wildcat coaches are involved in giving back as well.
More recently, head men's basketball coach Bruce Weber donated nearly $9,491 out of his own pocket for the fight against cancer. Through the Coaches vs. Cancer Shooting Challenge, K-State students were given the opportunity to shoot baskets at the Basketball Training Facility. Weber donated $1 for every student that showed up, $10 for every free throw made, $25 for each three-pointer made and each student had the opportunity at one half-court shot worth $100. If a student made all three shots, Weber would donate an extra $1,000 to the charity.
Megan Weber presented the $9,491 check to Trysta Williams of the American Cancer Society at halftime of the Wildcats' win over Kansas. 
In addition, the K-State family helped raise nearly $7,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer by purchasing the official shirt for the Stripe Bramlage game and another $6,500 at the 2014 Hoop Scoop for Women Basketball Clinic last fall.
"Coach Weber is such a great ambassador for the American Cancer Society and the Coaches vs. Cancer program," said Stephanie Weiter, a senior representative of the American Cancer Society, earlier this year. "He's very passionate about the cause and is really very sincere about making a difference. I've heard him speak on a number of occasions, and I've told him there's no better ambassador, there's no one that can speak as well as he does about it. You can tell it's truly from the heart."
 

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