Over 200 athletes and coaches from IUPUI partnered with Downtown Indy, Inc. and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., spending last Friday afternoon cleaning up downtown Indianapolis.
“For me as an athlete it made me realize I still have a role in this community and I need to give back,” said Jaci Jones, a women’s basketball player, “because this community supports us as athletes and we need to do the same back.”
Abbey Renner, a junior on the women’s soccer team, added that keeping the city clean also benefitted IUPUI.
“I think it is so important to help with the upkeep of the city, especially since IUPUI is right downtown,” said Renner. “Overall it was a great experience to get out and help clean up our community that supports us.”
The athletes also took time to reflect on their mutual relationship with the city and how that informed their role as an athlete.
“Us as athletes should be doing more things to give back just like they give to us. We didn’t have to do anything but we all chose to do it and make a difference and help this community out,” said Jones. ”We all experienced helping the community together just like a community should be doing together.”
According to Renner, the experience also provided an opportunity for IUPUI athletes to interact and meet their peers, while connecting with them on a deeper level through something other than their sport.
“It was really cool to see all of our athletic departments get together for something other than our sports. I loved getting to know the other athletes at IUPUI,” said Renner.
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is a nonprofit affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. that aims to help the Indianapolis community create better public spaces.
“We plant trees and native landscapes, build greenspaces, pick up litter, and engage learners of all ages to make Indy cleaner, greener and safer for everyone,” according to their website.
Keep America Beautiful has worked with community groups and people in different cities for over 40 years. Each year they do over 800 community projects that involve over 20,000 volunteers.
The Future of IUPUI Athletics
This was the first year that IUPUI athletes participated in a day of service with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
Luke Bosso, Director of Athletics at IUPUI, received praise from Renner and Jones for working to make an impact during his first semester on this campus.
“This was the first time I have seen and been a part of a volunteer event while being at IUPUI. I am really excited to see what else Luke has planned for our athletics, on and off the field,” Renner emphasized.
Jones added that she hoped there would be more events like this in the future.
“We have never done something like this in the athletics department, but I hope we continue to do it and do more from now on because this whole city supports us as athletes. Why shouldn’t we give back? Because we should.”
Kenzie Pittenger is a senior majoring in Sports Management with a Certificate in Journalism. She currently works as a team attendant for the Indiana Fever and as a guest services representative at Old National Centre. She hopes to become a sports broadcaster for women’s college basketball.