Most of you only see our student-athletes on their respective playing surfaces. On the field, court, mat or ice. In the pool, on the course or at the track. But there is so much more.Transcript from Oct. 20 UW News ConferenceUniversity of Wisconsin Athletics
I didn’t know Michele Dalton when she showed up at my office last spring, but I quickly found out she was a back-up freshman goalkeeper on our women’s soccer team. She went on to tell me that she was interested in creating a huge food drive on campus and she asked if there was any support the Athletic Department could give. I told her that if she got it all organized, I’d make sure people knew about it.
I hadn’t forgotten about it, but I also hadn’t heard anything more from Michele until she sent me an e-mail in July. She was setting up an organizational meeting with a number of campus units and groups. She was obviously serious and, though polite, very persistent.
So I’m not at all surprised that the first “Red and White Hunger Fight” begins today thanks to Michele’s desire to help feed those in need in our area around Thanksgiving time. The goal is to involve various groups on and around campus to secure food donations.
“I want to reach out to those who are less fortunate and need food,” said Dalton, a native of Mt. Prospect, Ill., who hadn’t really considered Wisconsin for college until she visited Madison and decided “this was the place for me.”
Michele, a psychology major, had been a part of a large food drive in high school and last year wrote to one of her teachers, asking to come back and help with her school’s food drive again. But the teacher told Michele she should try to bring about change “where she was.” That meant UW-Madison.
Seeing our student-athletes contribute to our community this way is one of the truly cool things about working in college athletics. If you see one of Michele’s food donation bins on campus, and you’re moved to do so, please support her efforts. You’ll be helping the hungry in our area during tough economic times. The drive runs from Oct. 20-Nov. 10.
JUSTIN DOHERTY: Back in the spring, this is Michelle Dalton, she’s a goalkeeper with the women’s soccer team. Back in the spring, she showed up at my office and said she wanted to create a campus-wide food drive, and I told her that if she did that, I’d help her tell people about it. So I wanted to bring Michelle up. She’s got something going called the Red and White Hunger Fight. It starts today, it ends November 10th, and it’s a campus-wide food drive, and just wanted to let Michelle tell you a little bit about it.
MICHELLE DALTON: Well, thank you all, can you hear me, thank you all for giving me a moment of your time. As Justin said, this pretty much just began as an idea a couple years back as something that I wanted to bring to campus, and today, as Justin said, is the kickoff for months and months of planning and organization.
We don’t have specific goals set, since this is the first year. Really the ultimate goal is to get as many organizations on campus to participate as possible. It’s the first campus-wide food drive ever, so our goal is basically get as many organizations involved as possible.
We’re working directly with the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin. That’s where all of our canned goods or money is going to at the end of this drive. As I said, today is the kickoff. It goes until November 10th, which is a Monday. On that day, all the goods will be collected via CAC trucks, and they will be brought back to the CAC location where they will be weighed.
And then on November 12th, we have what we’re calling the big event day, which is being held at the Phillips Lounge in Og Hall. On that day we’re having, right now we have over 45 volunteers, and hoping to get more, that will help sort, box, and load up all the goods that we’ve collected back onto the trucks.
So there’s numerous ways that you can, you or your organization can get involved. Obviously by just donating food. We also are collecting money to sponsor Thanksgiving baskets, which will go to specific needy families within the community. Obviously, the event day we are requesting volunteers to participate in that. And the Athletic Department has been gracious enough to provide an award or an incentive for organizations on campus, which consists of football tickets for the November 22nd game against Cal Poly and a pre-game presentation on field as well as a halftime acknowledgement.
Also, today it was confirmed that we’re doing, we’re collecting at the Kids’ Day at the Kohl Center, which is October 31st, from 11:00 to 2:00. So we’re accepting donations at that time as well. Are there any questions?
QUESTION #1: What was it exactly that made you want to do this food drive?
DALTON: As Justin said, I’m a sophomore here on campus, and it really struck me, just walking down State Street, it’s pretty evident that a lot of people are in need, especially this year with the economy. But I had done, I had participated in something very similar to this in my high school back home my senior, and I had the best time, the best experience with it.
So the sponsor of that event challenged me to bring it to wherever I am currently in life. So I took that, like I said, as a challenge, and brought it here, and here I am talking to you, so it’s a reality.
QUESTION #2: Can you just talk about how many athletes will be involved and what the level of that involvement is?
DALTON: We’re working directly with SAYSO(?), which is an athlete organization, as well as the SAC athletes. Right now, we’re working on placing bins in every locker room so athletes can donate, you know, bring in cans to their locker room. We’re also encouraging them, we sort of planned the event, November 12th is a Wednesday.
We know that all the athletes are in town, obviously practice is going on that evening, but it’s much easier for athletes, as I’m well aware, to participate in sort of a one-day event. So this is a perfect opportunity. We’re definitely encouraging, you know, the strong football players to come and help, you know, load the boxes of canned goods. So that’s another kind of facet for them to participate in.