In June, the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) gave its prestigious Community Service Award to the SAIT Trojans athletics department for the third time in nine years.
SAIT Polytechnic is the only post-secondary institute to have won the award three separate times, in 2004, 2007 and 2013.
The Trojan Outreach Program (TOP), is a 16-year-old initiative in which SAIT Trojans athletes, coaches and teams participate in different charities.
“SAIT is the only institute that has won this award thrice, [the] rest have won only once,” said Billie Rae Busby, a marketing and communications coordinator for the Trojans.
Last year, SAIT’s athletic teams raised $9,000.
The TOP initiatives include breast cancer awareness, the Movember prostate cancer awareness campaign, and the Christmas toy drive for the Women’s Centre of Calgary, among various sports clinics and partnership ventures with local schools.
“It’s just about helping, spreading the word, creating awareness and giving back to the community,” said Busby.
The SAIT Trojans men’s hockey team, for example, put on high heels to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in downtown Calgary on Sept.19, 2013.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an event to raise money to support the work of the YWCA of Calgary.
Its main aim is to break the cycle of family violence and help keep women and children safe, and people are encouraged to go to the website and donate.
The Trojans also participated in a charity hockey game at the end of August.
“In the last two years, we have introduced a new program, Trojans 101, where international students get a chance to learn hockey,” said Busby.
Some student athletes continue to participate in the volunteering opportunities even after they have graduated.
In the annual 10K fun run and 5K walk, the participants put on underwear costumes to create awareness for women’s and men’s cancers below the waist.
“Sometimes, the student athletes come up with their own ideas for charity.
“The main recognition the athletes get is a thank you, and a feeling of making the community a better place to live in,” said Erin Schwab, assistant coach of the Trojans women’s soccer team.