Urban Knights at your service: ART U presented with PacWest Community Engagement Award

Art U Community Engagement SAN FRANCISCO - In the culmination of a dedicated year of service, Academy of Art University athletics celebrated its 2011-12 Pacific West Conference Community Engagement Award on Saturday, Dec. 8, with a special ceremony at halftime of the men's basketball game against Holy Names.

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The ART U Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was on hand in full force to receive the honorary plaque directly from PacWest Commissioner Bob Hogue inside Kezar Pavilion.

“We are extremely proud of our athletic department for the commitment it made to the Bay Area community this year,” Dr. Elisa Stephens, president of Academy of Art University, said. “In today's difficult economic times, we need to come together and support each other as a community, and we commend the student-athletes for taking the time out of their busy schedules to help others in need.”

The annual award recognizes outstanding community service and projects performed by a PacWest member's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Dixie State College of Utah shared the honor with Academy of Art in 2011-12.

After reviewing the nominations, a panel of conference representatives selected ART U as the winner this past year.

“Academy of Art University is proud to accept the 2012 Community Engagement Award as the top performer in the PacWest Conference," Director of Athletics Kevin Price said. "It is important to us to be a contributing member of the community of San Francisco. Throughout the year we have many opportunities for our student-athletes to serve and learn from participation in worthy causes that tangibly help people. It is fulfilling and rewarding for ART U Athletics to be recognized for the efforts made throughout the year.”

The Urban Knights' efforts during the previous year included events focusing on health awareness, community improvement, and youth mentorship.

The campaign saw a dramatic increase with more than 12 instances of gratitude, including participation in Step Out: Walk To Stop Diabetes; an annual tradition assisting with Fleet Week; working for local youth in the institution's San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program; a thoughtful Clothing Drive; and many others events.

Across the board, the Urban Knights athletic teams each were involved in a minimum of three events with collective efforts and team-specific causes such as women's soccer partaking in Project Open Hand; softball hosting its annual Swing for a Cause to support With Hope, the Amber Craig Memorial Foundation; and track & field visiting the youth at Futures Elementary School.

The Urban Knights already are well on their way to surpassing last year's accomplishment having partnered with San Francisco Parks & Recreation for several events, hosting a Gatorade Pong Tournament, and going far beyond their 2011 collection at the Clothing Drive held on Dec. 7.

ART U remains thoroughly dedicated to serving their community again in 2012-13.