Despite a full schedule of practices, workouts and meetings, and the rigors of being a student-athlete at one of the nation's elite academic institutions, the Purdue men's basketball team makes time to reach out and give back to its community.
"It's important for us to prepare our student-athletes for life after basketball," Purdue head coach Matt Painter says. "By giving back, our players let the community know how much we appreciate their support of our program. These opportunities also educate our players about life outside basketball, and help them understand how much can be gained from sharing their time with others."
The Boilermakers have touched many lives in and around their West Lafayette home. The team took part in a basketball clinic for Special Olympics athletes as part of the Wooden Tradition in recent years. Other trips into the community have included helping with a public lunch program at Claystone Court apartments and reading to preschool, elementary and middle school students.
A popular outreach program is reading to elementary school students. Several Boilermakers visit local schools to focus on the importance of reading in school.
"I think our players get as much out of our visits as the children do," Painter says. "A lot of times, our players are asking how soon they can go back because they find it so rewarding."
Around the 2011 holiday season, Purdue players donated part of their per diem and organized donations from community members in order to host local families on a shopping spree at Target aimed at easing the burden on parents to provide holiday gifts for young children. A video of the outing can be seen below.
The Boilermakers' commitment to community outreach has been recognized on a national stage in recent years, as Purdue has had one of the 10 national finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in each of the last three seasons. Chris Kramer and E'Twaun Moore were finalists in 2010 and 2011, respectively, before Robbie Hummel broke through and became Purdue's first-ever winner of the prestigious award in 2012.
To view a photo gallery of Hummel's trip to the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans to receive the award, click here.
Community Involvement Lafayette Family Services Special Olympics Public lunch programs Middle school/elementary/preschool reading trips After-school programs The Challenge 5K Run/Walk Against Cancer College Mentor Program Appearances in conjunction with the Purdue Greek system