At Davidson, the onus of organizing and contributing to community service is, for the most part, on the students. As a result, it is not surprising that over the years there have been a number of successful student-lead groups on campus that have created opportunities for participation in and have spread the awareness of service and civic engagement.
One group, called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), is led by a collection of about 7 or 8 Davidson student athletes. The FCA is a nationwide organization, and its mission is to pass on to other students a belief in the connection between faith and athletic competition.
The FCA is open to more than Davidson student-athletes. Students and faculty of the college are allowed to attend the FCA meetings. All of the elected members are student-athletes, and they are each positioned into individual roles. Among the members is a Community Service Coordinator, whose role is in setting up service events for the group.
Charles “Charlie” Summers, class of ’72, served as Davidson College Chaplain in the early 1980’s. During his chaplaincy, Summers was an active member of the Davidson community, and was awarded with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service in 2001. In this time, Summers says of the FCA, “It was a very small group, and did not do much other than meet for fellowship”. However, he believes that in the early 1980’s, the FCA took part in Davidson Town Day as well as the Charlotte CROP Walk. Town Day in Davidson is the final day in “Clean Up” week, which was started in 1971. The Charlotte CROP Walk is geared towards benefiting the lives of people with hunger around the world. (See photo 1)
From 2005-2010, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes went through a brief hiatus. However, starting back up in the Fall semester of 2010, the community-based campus group has new goals and revived motives. This could entail a transformation into a group that becomes a gateway to community service.
Molly Crenshaw, class of ’13, the FCA Community Service Coordinator, says the group plans on “having community service become more frequently available through FCA”. Students on certain scholarships could potentially fulfill portions of their community service requirements through the FCA, using its connections to their own benefits while simultaneously making an impact on the greater community. Crenshaw names Habitat for Humanity as a service organization the FCA hopes to connect with in the near future, with the goal of participating in regular service projects that may include members of the Davidson campus.
FCA has already partnered with A2S, a group created by Andrew Lovedale, class of ’09, which works with underprivileged children in creating opportunities for success in the classroom as well as spiritually. In mid-April, 2011, FCA participated in a food drive for a homeless shelter in Charlotte, serving lunch to more than 200 homeless men. Group member Chad Harper, class of ’13, explains that because it is a new group, “We (FCA) are trying to establish relationships with partner organizations, and we hope that this ministry will be someone we work with for a long time”.
Another student-led campus group is called the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, or SAAC. Similar to FCA, this group takes part in community service projects throughout the year, but these events are not required as part of the purpose of SAAC. Instead, its working role is in keeping the student-athletes in close contact with the athletic administration. Katy McNay, Athletics Compliance Director, who is the group’s faculty advisor, says the SAAC “serves as an opinion group for athletics and a problem solving group for the (athletic) department”. In doing so, it bridges the Davidson campus to the town. (See Photo 2)
Two annual service events are aimed toward benefitting the local community. First, the involvement in the Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots” program at the end of the Fall semester is a way for the student-athletes to give back to local youth for their support of the Wildcats. Each Fall team collaborates to provide toys that will be given as holiday gifts to underprivileged children.
The second annual service event by SAAC is Cats Carnival in the Spring semester. Members of each team convene on this lively outdoor event that lasts for a few hours. Students of local schools are invited to enjoy the carnival games. In 2011, SAAC collected gently used books at this event, donating them to local children’s groups such as hospitals or community day care centers (McNay). Moving forward, members of Davidson Athletics plan to make events like Cats Carnival a common occurrence. Davidson Student-athletes receive tremendous support from the community throughout their careers, and many of these Wildcats are rapidly catching on to an upward movement of returning the gift of support through service.
McNay, Katy. Personal Interview. April 11, 2011.
Spach, The Rev. Rob. Personal Interview. April 10, 2011.
Summers, Charles. Personal Interview. April 10, 2011.
Crenshaw, Molly. Personal Interview. April 5, 2011.
Harper, Chad. Personal Interview. April 5, 2011.
Davidson College. Quips and Cranks Vol. 87. Davidson: Davidson College, 1985.
Davidson College. Quips and Cranks Vol. 107. Davidson: Davidson College, 2004.
Author: Coleman O’Neill
Date: 21 April 2011
Cite as: O’Neill, Coleman. “Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student-Athlete Advisory Council,” Davidson Encyclopedia, 21 April 2011 <http://libraries.davidson.edu/archives/encyclopedia/fellowship-of-christian-athletes-studentathlete-advisory-council/>