Athletes make a difference

Butler athletes spend most of their time in the classroom or on their respective playing surfaces, but they still find time to give back to the community.

For decades, Butler student- athletes have left campus to represent their teams in another way: through community service.

“I don’t want to say you’re in a bubble here,” said Darnell Archey, coordinator of basketball operation for the men’s basketball team. “But seeing just 10 blocks from here, there are people in need, it really opens (the guys’) eyes. I know it opened mine.”

Archey, a Butler graduate and once the all-time leader on Butler’s 3-point field goal list, is in the same boat as most of the men on coach Brad Stevens’ team.

“It definitely opens your eyes to how fortunate we are and how much we have to be thankful for,” junior guard Erik Fromm said.

Men’s basketball players branch out through various organizations, doing activities like reading to kids, working in food banks during school holidays and speaking in schools about what it really takes to become a collegiate athlete.

They also volunteer as an entire team at a soup kitchen every year.

“At the soup kitchen they all come in and a lot of them, you wouldn’t even know they go there because they’re so happy and optimistic,” Fromm said.  “You can see how strong they are. It’s really neat.

“And for the kids, you remember back when you were in middle school and how when you saw a high schooler or college student, your eyes just lit up because you thought it was so cool. It really reminds me of the importance to always set a good example and do the right thing.”

Another group leading community service on campus is the women’s soccer team, which begins its volunteer work before most students even step foot on campus for the school year.

“We come to school three weeks before school starts,” said senior Claire Milam, a defender on the team. “We practice, we eat—what else is there to do?

“We try and give back, especially within our sport.”

Along with cleaning up the community, assisting with packaging goods at local food banks and helping out at local events, the team hosts a group of Special Olympics athletes through TOPsoccer, a division of Indiana Youth Soccer. For the past three years—even during the fall season —the group has come to campus once a week to get to know the team while enjoying friendly competition at the Butler Bowl.

“When you play a sport in college it becomes so much like a job, you sometimes forget why you first fell in love with it. It brings us so much joy to see soccer bring others joy,” Milam said.

“(Volunteering) really reminds us why we play.”

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