Longhorns lend a hand in Orange Santa program
However, several dozen Longhorns student-athletes found the time last December to participate in Orange Santa, a campus-wide program that provides toys for children of University students or staff members who are having severe financial difficulties.
Representatives from each of the 18 UT sports teams participated in the campaign. They collected toys from donors and in some cases purchased toys with their own money. The UT Athletics contingent was part of a campus-wide effort that provided toys for 1,155 youngsters in 320 families associated with UT.
Alexis Garcia, a senior on the UT softball team, president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, coordinated the campaign.
"The Student-Athlete Advisory Council does something like this every year during the holidays," Garcia said. "A year ago, it was the Adopt-A-Family program. We decided on Orange Santa this year because it would directly affect University families.
"Every team is responsible for providing volunteers," Garcia added. "But it's never a problem getting enough people. It's a busy time of year, but a lot of people enjoy getting involved, especially at that time of year and for something so worthwhile."
The Student-Athlete Advisory Council exists largely to provide Longhorns student-athletes a stronger voice in the Athletics Departments and on campus. The group also provides better communication between the student-athletes and athletics administrators. The organization is committed to community service and volunteerism. Orange Santa is just one of the projects in which the Student-Athlete Advisory Council participates throughout the year.
Longhorns student-athletes also are involved in activities such as Marathon Kids, a campus-wide Longhorn Halloween Carnival, HEB's Feast of Sharing at Thanksgiving, Sports Day at the Texas School for the Deaf, the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure (breast cancer awareness), food drives at UT Athletics events, Texas Special Olympics, Big Brother-Big Sister, elementary and middle school mentoring, hospital visits, the Neighborhood Longhorns program and various pen pal programs.
"We (UT student-athletes) get so much great support from so many people and groups on campus and throughout the Austin community," Garcia said. "These are ways we can show our appreciation and give something back to the community that does so much for us. All of us who participate get a great feeling of satisfaction from being involved in these programs."
The efforts of Garcia and the other UT student-athlete volunteers have not gone unnoticed.2004-05 STUDENT-ATHLETE ADVISORY COUNCIL