THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - The Davis & Elkins College Athletic Department officially kicked off the 2017-18 academic year on Monday evening by completing a major service project with the cleaning up and beautification of downtown Elkins.
More than 300 Senators student athletes from 19 sports organized in front of City Hall to kick off the event.
Mayor Van Broughton addressed the athletes and presented D&E Athletics and Athletic Director Jamie Joss with a key to the city.
“Instead of an orientation activity to start off the year, we decided to do an engagement activity,” Joss said. “We’d never kicked off the year doing that. It was a great success. We’re going to do one in the spring as well.”
Broughton said he was “thrilled” by Monday’s event.
“It was really exciting. I was overwhelmed with the support from D&E,” the mayor said. “They did a great job for us.
“I heard nothing but positive comments from the community afterward,” Broughton said. “The students were so positive and helpful. They said, ‘We’ll be back again.’ A lot of them were freshmen who’d never been downtown before.
“Now we’re hearing from some other community organizations who’d like to get involved and help as well,” the mayor said. “It’s great to have D&E as a team member in improving Elkins.”
Joss said the athletic department’s mission statement involves four pillars — education, engagement, character and competition.
“Our student athletes completed more than 3,000 hours of community engagement last year, which ranked eighth in Division 2,” Joss said.
“All of our teams align with a local nonprofit, and have regular engagement hours that they work with them,” Joss said.
The team captains led the firing of the D&E cannon to signify the start of the year Monday evening.
Following the start at City Hall, the student athletes took part in a service project picking up trash and weeding in different locations in downtown Elkins.
While the other athletes walked throughout the town to pick up trash, the D&E volleyball team was designated to work on beautifying City Hall.
The volleyball squad pulled weeds, trimmed shrubs and swept up the sidewalks.
“This is a great project,” D&E volleyball coach Kylie Heyne said.