Citzen leaders

Members of the baseball team help out at FACES, the Farmville community’s food pantry, as Hurricane Michael threatens to flood the facility. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Mau)

As multiple major storms battered the East Coast this fall, Longwood’s student-athletes jumped in to aid with recovery efforts.

Exemplifying Longwood’s mission of citizen leadership, the Longwood baseball team, led by head coach Ryan Mau, and the Longwood Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), a student-run organization made up entirely of student-athletes, engaged in two service campaigns that assisted with disaster relief both locally and nationally.

The baseball team took part in a monthlong volunteer effort at the FACES food pantry in Farmville, aiding not only in providing food and supplies to local families in need but also assisting the nonprofit organization in saving several tons of food from flooding brought on by Hurricane Michael.

Meanwhile, SAAC partnered with the Big South Conference and the nonprofit Gleaning For the World to collect food, supplies and donations for victims of the recent major storms.

“Community service has been a priority of Longwood University for as long as this institution has existed,” said Longwood Interim Athletics Director Michelle Meadows Shular.

Citizen leaders 2

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Mau)

“But it’s even more impactful when it’s Longwood students who take the initiative and pursue that work themselves, and that’s what we saw this fall. You’re talking about student-athletes engaging in impactful, meaningful work that significantly benefited thousands of people in need. If that’s not the embodiment of citizen leadership, I’m not sure what is.”

Members of the Longwood baseball program spent the entire month of September making multiple trips each week to FACES, the Farmville-based food pantry that distributes groceries and supplies to local families in need. Student-athletes assisted the organization with its weekly unloading, packaging and distribution of food.

These young men and their coaches exemplify the very best of Longwood.

DR. WAYNE McWEE, FACES FOOD PANTRY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

They made such an impression on the FACES staff that, when forecasts called for Hurricane Michael to bring damaging floodwaters to Farmville, the organization’s first call for help was to the 34-man Lancer baseball team. The young men answered the call, pitching in with moving dozens of pallets and chest freezers to higher ground.

“These young men and their coaches exemplify the very best of Longwood,” said Dr. Wayne McWee, retired Longwood faculty member and administrator who now serves on the FACES board of directors. “Working with these young men and coaches has truly been a pleasure.”

Following the baseball team’s efforts with relief from Hurricane Michael, Longwood SAAC took the baton and put together a fundraiser for relief from Hurricane Florence. Under the direction of Longwood lacrosse junior and SAAC president Dana Joss ’20, a history major, the group encouraged Lancer fans to bring canned goods, toiletries, monetary donations and even stuffed animals to several fall athletics events to help Gleaning For the World provide necessities to communities around the nation affected by disasters.

That effort was part of a broader initiative by the Big South Conference, which challenged SAAC groups at every campus to partner with an organization to assist with relief from Hurricane Florence. Longwood SAAC collected more than 100 items and $100 in a five-day span. 

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