Across the country, colleges and universities celebrated Division III Week (DIII Week) during the week of April 6. The week is dedicated, “to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community,” according to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Chatham University is no stranger to DIII Week, celebrating student-athletes each year.
The NCAA introduced DIII Week in 2010 to better define the division as part of Division III’s Identity Initiative. It creates a platform for student-athletes to share why they chose to compete in Division III. Defined as a division where student-athletes can follow their passions and develop their potential, it is known for a better balance between athletics, academics, and campus interests. DIII Week is designed to integrate athletics into campus culture, including all campus departments, students, and alumni.
Sophomore Jesse Hinkle said, “DIII Week is a wonderful celebration of participating in athletics for the love of the game. It highlights successfully balancing college athletics and academics.”
Chatham University fully immerses itself into DIII Week, hosting events and programming almost every day of the week. Activities include National Student-Athlete Appreciation Day, hosting a Coaches Roundtable, a food drive, and the annual Patience T. Blayden athletics banquet honoring athlete accomplishments throughout the current school year.
“DIII Week gave our department an opportunity to interact with the campus community through the Coaches Conversation and the Carson Shout Out for Division III,” Head Swimming and Diving Coach Christina “Tilly” Sheets said. “During the Coaches Conversation, the coaches were able to give insight about what it is like to coach at the Division III level to faculty and staff. We had an excellent turnout for the event, which included over 50 members of the Chatham faculty and staff.”
Chatham athletes from each sport were highlighted throughout the week on posters placed around campus. The highlights included their reasons for choosing Chatham as well as their favorite moments of their season.
Highlighting the athletes’ competitive spirit, and their love of food, was the food drive, or better known as the Hungry Games. All members of the campus community were encouraged bring in canned goods to the Athletic and Fitness Center, Anderson Dining Hall, or a student-athlete. The donated items, designated to a specific team when turned in, will be given to Pittsburgh’s local Food Bank. The athletic team with the most donated items wins a food party.
The weeklong celebration was topped off with the athletics banquet. Coaches and athletes from all Chatham sports attended, sharing their season accomplishments with each other. President Barrazone praised both the athletes and coaches for the hard work that they put in every day. ESPY style awards were voted on and given to athletes for silly things, such as always having snacks to being the most likely to sleep through practice.
Coaches also gave out awards for the most accomplished athlete on each respective team, be it for athletic achievement or dedication. Coach Jason Evans, head ice hockey and softball coach, noted that the ice hockey team had a. “banner year,” breaking several team records, and that the softball team was making progress to finishing stronger than previous seasons.
Overall, Chatham had a successful Division III Week, involving student-athletes and the campus community.
**This article was updated on 4/16 to include a quote from Coach Christina “Tilly” Sheets.