Joplin, Mo. – The Missouri Southern softball team has been awarded the Student Club Volunteer Service Award as was announced today as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on campus.

The Student Club Volunteer Service Award is designed to honor a compassionate MSSU student organization that has contributed an extraordinary level of dedication and demonstrated superior leadership through exceptional service by volunteering on or off campus.

The Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee asked that each student organization provide it with the total number of volunteer hours completed between the dates of 11/01/2019 through 10/31/2020 as well as a brief description of the activities and impact.

With that said, the Southern softball team completed 318 hours of community service during that time period with an average of nearly 17 hours per student-athlete. The softball team volunteered in various locations including the Joplin Humane Society, Columbia Elementary, the Alzheimer’s Association and Eugene Field Elementary.

Individually, Abby Atkin was a nominee for the individual service award and overall the softball team had 574 hours between 21 players for an average of 27 hours per player throughout the course of the year.

“One of our program’s expectations is to do at least one community service event monthly,” Blackney said. “In an effort to help our student-athletes develop connections in the community and to potentially add contacts to their personal reference lists, each class is expected to find, and organize, an event for us monthly—seniors choose our September project, juniors choose October’s, sophomores choose November’s, and freshmen choose January’s. Covid has made things interesting, to say the least, but I am proud of how we have overcome and adapted. We appreciate everything the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee does, as well as the recognition for this award.”