Athletes all around campus came together last week to celebrate Division III week, a week-long event observed by 450 schools within 43 different athletic conferences under NCAA Division III.
Wittenberg’s celebration included events such as a fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand for childhood cancer, an all-athlete celebration with food and giveaways, an all-athlete photo and recognition of the academic achievements of Wittenberg’s athletes.
The week’s events were planned by a committee of athletes on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, SAAC. A subcommittee within SAAC led by junior golfer Macy Hubble was responsible for planning the events. According to Hubble, the committee began planning several months ago and met in biweekly meetings.
“I think it’s vital we celebrate DIII athletics to emphasize the appreciation of athletes who play their sport simply because they love the game,” Hubble said. “As a DIII athlete, many students are spread thin with academics, athletics and extracurricular activities, but still manage to find the right balance to be successful on and off the field.”
Division III Week was developed as a part of Division III’s Identity Initiative, which was established in 2010. The initiative works to promote Division III as an environment which allows student-athletes to participate competitively in sports, while maintaining a high level of academic rigor. In addition to capitalizing on the benefits of Division III, the initiative works to highlight the individual stories of student athletes who decided to compete in Division III.
Jordan Crow, senior track and field runner, took part in the initiative of sharing athlete’s stories by creating a video that highlights Wittenberg’s student athletes and answers the question “Why Division III?” Crow spent all semester working on the video project, which premiered at the beginning of the week-long celebration.
Crow’s involvement in Division III athletics has enriched her life and is what inspired her to participate in the week. According to Crow, participating in Division III has allowed her to explore who she is and what she really wants from life. In her opinion, Wittenberg holds true to the Division III motto of “Dedicate. Develop. Discover.”
“As Division III athletes, we have tremendous opportunities to discover what it is we are passionate about,” Crow said. “We can actually take part in actively pursuing our interests, whether it’s through community service, campus organizations or jobs and internships, we are allowed to do that as well as participate competitively in the sport we love.”
According to the NCAA, the week works to celebrate academic, athletic and community involvement and achievement. According to Crow, this is exactly what the Division III experience is about:
“Division III has allowed me to be a successful track athlete, be a good student, participate in the Springfield Community and really feel a part of something,” Crow said. “The community that surrounds DIII is so beautiful and special, I am actually obsessed with every aspect of it!”