The Southland Strong Community Service Award is given to the member institution who is most active in the community through student-athletes’ individual service hours, institution’s organized community service events and participation in Southland league-wide activities, including a campus Initiative selected by each institution, Delete Blood Cancer, and the Southland Gives Back community service project during winter break. Sam Houston student-athletes combined for 4,858 community service hours over the past fall and spring seasons — the most community service hours in the Southland among 13 member institutions. Their community service efforts included: Elementary school visits; trash clean up; church programs; Houston Food Bank; Be the Match bone marrow drive, YMCA visits and other civic endeavors benefitting Huntsville and the Greater Houston area. Overall, Southland student-athletes contributed more than 30,000 service hours in just the fourth year of the Southland Strong Community Service program — an initiative to encourage and reward memberinstitutions participating in community service. The Bearkats’ Associate Athletic Director for Student Services Chris Thompson will accept the recognition Tuesday (May 22) at the annual Southland Honors Dinner and Ceremony at the Westin Stonebriar Hotel in Frisco. FRISCO, Texas – Sam Houston State is the Southland Strong Community Service Award winner for the 2017-18 academic year. Commissioner Tom Burnett made the announcement Thursday. “The student-athletes at Sam Houston State University take pride in serving the community they join when they arrive on campus,” said Thompson. “It is a part of their path that automatically goes hand-in- hand with their degree, their sport, the athletic department and the university. Community service for all the student-athletes in the Southland Conference is special because both groups benefit — the ones who give for others also receive a gift because it is the right thing to do.” Southland schools initiated a variety of programs to aid Texas and Louisiana following last fall’s Hurricane Harvey, which adversely impacted 10 of the 13 Southland universities, and altered playing schedules for almost all of the league’s fall sports teams. The relief efforts, several of which were led by student-athletes, came on the heels of a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross. The storm had the greatest impact on the greater Houston area, which serves as a geographic center of the Southland Conference and is home to a large base of students and alumni from the league’s 13 institutions.