Averett SAAC raises record $4,511 to win USA South’s ‘Pennies for a Purpose’ for third time in a row

Posted on April 8th, 2017 by Cassie Jones


Averett University and its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) raised a record $4,511 to claim its third consecutive USA South Conference “Pennies for a Purpose” competition. Overall, the USA South institutions collected a record $16,072.03 during this spring’s competition.

“I’m in awe that this makes the third straight year we’ve won ‘Pennies for a Purpose,” said senior Samm Chandler, SAAC president. “I’m thankful that everyone at Averett — students, faculty and staff — are always ready to help. Winning is great but giving back is even better.”

The amount the Cougars raised is the highest single-year total collected in the history of this competition. Averett will be re-presented the Pennies for a Purpose plaque at a later date. Methodist raised $3,566.54 to finish second with the third-highest single-year total collected. In third place was LaGrange with $2,008.00 raised which is the seventh-highest single-year amount collected. Rounding out the top-four was Huntingdon who collected $1,145.30. Overall, 13 of the conference institutions improved their totals from the previous year, with nine establishing school records for most contributions collected.

“Winning ‘Pennies for a Purpose’ again is more than just getting a trophy to me,” said junior Lynsey Corriher, SAAC treasurer. “Knowing that all of the money Averett and the other conference schools raised will be donated to various organizations is such an accomplishment in itself.”

In an effort to help worthy organizations during the spring semester, the USA South SAAC developed “Pennies for a Purpose” in 2008. This year’s community service initiative, in its ninth year, began as the student-athletes returned from winter break. The schools had until April 6 to collect loose change which would later be donated to an organization of their choosing. The end of this year’s initiative coincides with the NCAA’s sixth-annual Division III Week.

“It’s always humbling and rewarding to help give back to the community, but it is also fun to compete against other schools within the conference outside of athletics,” said senior Jake Comer, SAAC vice president.

This spring, Averett SAAC held multiple events to help contribute to the grand total. SAAC hosted its third annual “Caring for Carrie” event to raise money for cancer research in honor of Carrie Hendrick, former athletic trainer and current program director for Averett’s Athletic Training Education Program. Money also was raised through an annual jar competition where money is collected into individual jars with names of coaches, staff and administrators. The “winner” whose jar had the most money had to kiss a pig this year, and the “runner-up” got a pie in the face. Other funds were collected through walks and other events.

“Winning ‘Pennies for a Purpose’ means a lot to me because the money goes to organizations that truly help people,” said junior Mitchell Smith, SAAC public relations director. “Being able to win the event again breaking the record in the process just goes to show how Averett is always willing to give back.”

This is the second community service program developed by the USA South Conference SAAC as the “Cans Across the Conference” food drive, which takes place during the Thanksgiving holiday, was created in 2004. Through that campaign, USA South institutions have donated a total of 389,266 items to their local communities. Averett was also victorious in that competition for the second consecutive year by collecting 14,142 items last fall.

“Setting the record for ‘Pennies for a Purpose’ and winning again this year just emphasizes how invested the Averett community is on giving back,” said junior Hayden Rigsbee, SAAC secretary. “We are determined to raise money not only to win but most importantly to impact the lives of others.”

Averett’s collected donations will be split between the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

“It’s such a great feeling not only because we know our hard work this semester paid off as we tried to raise the most money, but also because we raised more than $4,000 to give back to the community and other worthy organizations,” said sophomore Emily Stanley, SAAC community service coordinator.

Below is a list of the local organizations where the USA South institutions donated their collections:

Agnes Scott College – LineLine Animal Project
Averett University – Split between The Jimmy V Foundation, Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Covenant College – Chattanooga, Tennessee Sports Ministries.
Ferrum College – Split between the Roanoke Carilion Children’s Hospital and the Ferrum Elementary Backpack Program.
Greensboro College – Greensboro Urban Ministries.
Huntingdon College – Mountain Tough Organization
LaGrange College – “Miles4Myanmar”, Humanitarian aid to orphans and the helpless of Myanmar.
Mary Baldwin University – “$5.55 Feminine Hygiene Drive”, supplying 25 local homeless teenagers with a one-month supply of necessary hygiene products.
Maryville College – The Kay Yow Foundation.
Meredith College – National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Methodist University – The Kay Yow Foundation.
N.C. Wesleyan College – “Gift of Life” Bone Marrow Registry.
Salem College – Make A Wish Foundation.
Wesleyan College – Georgia Special Olympics to help fund the Summer Special Olympics in Atlanta.
William Peace University – Wake County, North Carolina SPCA.