Giving Day provides a unique opportunity to support UBCO’s athletes

UBCO Heat cross country athlete Emma Kearns is one of many student athletes who benefit from contributions from the community.

UBCO Heat cross country athlete Emma Kearns is one of many student athletes who benefit from contributions from the community.

One day event will help grow scholarship opportunities and support programs

The past year has thrown many people off their game and it’s always welcome when support from others can help keep people on track.

UBC Okanagan’s Giving Day provides an opportunity for everyone in the community to help support on-campus student experiences and projects, including the UBC Okanagan Heat Athletic Scholarship.

The life of UBC Okanagan Heat student athletes has completely changed in the last year, but not their commitment to their studies and sports, says Tom Huisman, director of Athletics and Recreation.

“While striving to excel academically in pursuit of a first-class education, student athletes have continued to volunteer in the community this year and continue to train for their sport on and off campus, preparing themselves to compete when varsity games and events return next school year,” he says. “These obligations leave little time for paid employment. Athletic scholarships help ease the financial burden and empower our student athletes to pursue their athletic and academic goals, while also contributing to their communities.”

As winner of this year’s CapriCMW Athletics Entrance Scholarship, first-year human kinetics student and varsity cross-country runner Emma Kearns knows very well the value of support for varsity athletes. She will benefit from the support of $15,000 over the next four years.

“I cannot begin to express how lucky I feel to have received this scholarship,” says Kearns. “I always wished to have the full university experience, academics and athletics. With that comes a lot of training, studying and very little time for a job. I can now focus my attention on my education and running for the Heat.”

Kearns’ biggest issue this year was dealing with the unknown and most of her competitions this year were virtual ones. However, as a runner not greatly impacted by issues such as physical distancing, and as a student receiving instruction online, Kearns took some comfort in being able to train almost anywhere. She, her coach and her teammates chose to train at Big White for several months, taking advantage of the challenging terrain and physiological benefits of training at altitude.

“An added benefit was that we grew closer as a team and created a close-knit group,” she adds.

As a committed community partner, CapriCMW is keen to assist the Heat in attracting and retaining the very best varsity athletes.

“We are thrilled to support student athletes here in the Okanagan,” says Robin Durrant, co-chairman at CapriCMW. “Leadership skills are developed through effort, teamwork and perseverance, which are characteristics these students have in abundance. We are so proud to share in the development of these future leaders. The future is bright indeed.”

During challenging times like this past year, when routines have been disrupted, interactions constrained and opportunities placed on hold, many have felt the need for greater support, or the desire to provide it, Huisman adds. “Giving Day will provide an opportunity for all community members to offer support of any size, large or small, to our talented varsity athletes.”

Support for the Scholarship Fund has already received a boost in the form of two challenge gifts. Kahunaverse Sports Group has put up a corporate challenge to match the first $500 donation from another company and encourages other companies to donate as well. Similarly, an anonymous supporter will provide a $5,000 matching contribution if the scholarship can raise $5,000 through corporate and individual donations.

In addition to the UBCO Heat Athletic Scholarship Fund, there are two other targeted Giving Day projects supporting student athletes, with both the Heat women’s softball team and the men’s rugby team represented.

Giving Day, a one-day fundraising event, will take place on April 7, 2021. For more details, or to donate, visit: ok.ubc.ca/giving-day

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