Daemen College has been named the third place honoree for the 2018 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence, an honor recognizing campus and community engagement efforts over the past year. Daemen’s nomination for the award was centered around new programming called the Daemen College Center for Allied and Unified Sport and Exercise (CAUSE), a collaborative initiative between the college’s Athletics, Social Work and Special Education departments. As a third place recipient, Daemen will receive $1,000 from the NCAA to be used toward future community engagement endeavors.
The official announcement of award recipients was made on Jan. 20 at the Division II business session at the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. Northwood University was recognized as the first place honoree and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was named as the second place award recipient. Nineteen schools and two conferences were named earlier this month as award finalists.
“We extend sincerest congratulations to Daemen Athletics for receiving this prestigious national recognition and commend them for their commitment to making our CAUSE initiative such a tremendous success,” said Daemen President Gary Olson. “Daemen College has a long tradition of community engagement and CAUSE activities are furthering this connection with more opportunities for our students to have a positive impact on our community.”
Launched this past fall, CAUSE is an initiative that provides recreational and competitive athletic opportunities for persons with disabilities, pairing participants with Daemen students, student-athletes, faculty and coaches in activities that promote sport, exercise and socialization. Developed through a collaborative effort by Daemen Athletics and the college’s Social Work and Special Education departments, and aided by grant funding from several community organizations, CAUSE programming runs each Sunday afternoon and on two Thursday evenings per month. During CAUSE hours, primary caregivers are invited to enjoy time to themselves, socialize with other caregivers, or have free use of Daemen’s fitness center.
“Daemen Athletics is extremely proud of the impact CAUSE has already had on our community in the short amount of time since its launch,” said Interim Athletics Director Brandi Guerinot, at the time of Daemen’s nomination for the NCAA Division II Award of Excellence. “CAUSE is a tremendous asset to Western New York, and being recognized by the NCAA only shows the respect that the program is gaining on a national level. We are excited to see CAUSE have a lasting impact, not only for the participants and their caregivers, but also for our student-athletes and others who are involved in running the program on a weekly basis.”
Division II annually honors its members for leading events that exemplify any of the six Division II attributes: learning, balance, resourcefulness, sportsmanship, passion, and service. A committee of athletics administrators determined this year’s finalists, which each received a $500 award, and the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee selected the award recipients.