Every spring, Drew’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee plans a week-long series of events and activities to celebrate Division III Week, a national event created by the NCAA to honor student-athletes and build awareness of and support for Division III athletics.
This year’s D3 Week started on April 10 and continues until April 16 with a multitude of opportunities to participate in the events planned by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Sam Trodick (‘25), one of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representatives for the women’s Swimming & Diving team, explained the importance of D3 week for the Rangers and how it is relevant to the rest of Drew University.
“SAAC plans a D3 week every year to celebrate the student-athletes and all of what they do throughout the year, and kind of give them a week where they can have fun and not think about the sports that they have to do in their season or their off-season, or any academics they have as well,” said Trodick.
The week kicked off with a focus on mental health among student-athletes; for a few hours, students could take a break from the busyness of school to hang out with therapy dogs by the Simon Forum.
The theme of mental health continued with a game of Jeopardy in Crawford Hall Monday evening. This event was co-hosted by Drew’s Counseling Center, and participants had the opportunity to win prizes.
Tuesday’s main event is a favorite among student-athletes every year: the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee organized a Pie Your Coach event outside of the Ehinger Center, where athletes could pay a few dollars in return for getting to pie their coaches with a plate of whipped cream.
The Pie Your Coach event drew such a turnout that the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representatives running the table ran out of supplies, forcing them to end the event earlier than planned.
An evening Tug of War tournament sparked a battle between the classes, as each team tried to outdo the others in the Baldwin Gym Tuesday night.
Wednesday’s events saw a continuation of the battle between the class years with the Change Wars. From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., student-athletes could donate coins to their class’s jar in the Ehinger Center or deduct coins from other classes; the class with the highest number of coins won the war.
Wednesday night’s festivities featured another chance to win prizes with a large game of bingo being hosted in Crawford Hall.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also organized a white-out theme for the women’s lacrosse game against Scranton Wednesday afternoon, as it was one of their Ranger Nation games. These games are designated Ranger Nation by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in an effort to get more athletes and teams to come out and support their fellow Rangers.
A Giralda clean up was organized for Thursday in an effort to help give back to the surrounding community.
Friday’s festivities include a Drew Spirit Day, for which student-athletes are encouraged to wear Drew gear and send photos to @drewsaac on Instagram, and an afternoon game of kickball for everyone to have some fun outside and enjoy the nice weather.
To round out D3 Week, Saturday will feature a Landmark Conference Instagram takeover by members of the different sports teams, as well as several home games for the Rangers; tennis, men’s lacrosse and softball will all be competing throughout the day.
Participating in D3 Week allows student-athletes to take a break from the stress of school and sports and have a little fun with their friends while also helping to raise money for future events.
“My favorite thing from D3 Week is Pie Your Coach because we get to put plates of whipped cream in our coach’s face so that’s a lot of fun, and the money goes towards the foundation that we’re profiting towards and half towards SAAC so we can have more fun events,” Trodick said.
A portion of the money collected from these events goes to the Taubstrong Foundation, which focuses on raising money to help fight pediatric brain cancer. Each of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s fundraisers this year have gone towards aiding this foundation.
Since one of the main aims of D3 Week is to raise awareness for Division III athletics and increase support from others, a common focus throughout D3 week is highlighting why student-athletes chose to attend a Division III school.
As part of the national celebration of D3 Week, each of the schools within the Landmark Conference share posts and videos from their athletes explaining why they decided to attend and compete at the Division III level, contributing to the overarching #whyD3.
Genevieve Sarinelli (‘25), a member of Drew’s women’s volleyball team, shared her own perspective on why she chose a Division III school.
“I decided to go D3 for the academics and flexibility with scheduling,” Sarinelli said.
Overall, the events and activities hosted by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee throughout the week recognize the hard work put in by Drew’s student-athletes and increase appreciation for Division III athletics in general, providing Drew with a way to celebrate their athletes.
Charlotte Wells is a junior double-majoring in English (with a concentration in writing communications) and French, as well as minoring in humanities.
Featured image courtesy of Charlotte Wells.