ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — It all started with a simple tweet.
In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, University of Houston head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson sparked interest from colleges and universities around the nation when he sent out a tweet asking basketball teams to donate to those in need.
And, St. Bonaventure athletics went above and beyond.
Alysha Giarra, director of women’s basketball operations, opened her office to all donations that athletes could spare.
“At first we were going to do it alone, since it was a basketball coach’s tweet that got us in on it,” Giarra said.
The responses of other coaches and athletes also were immediate in wanting to also help those in need.
“One group can do so much, but a bunch of different groups can do so much more,” Giarra said. “It didn't take more than asking once.”
Men and women’s basketball, tennis, swimming and diving, cross country, track and women’s lacrosse all gathered extra gear. Sampson asked for 20 shirts and 10 pairs of shoes from each program, but St. Bonaventure donated over 200 shirts, around 150 pairs of shorts, 30 pairs of shoes and around 50 duffel bags.
Benjamin Galinski, a senior swimmer, agreed this is a time all teams should be called to action.
“I feel that it is very important to come together as an athletic department,” Galinski said. “As a student-athlete we are expected to go above and beyond the regular expectations and cooperating as a single unit created a bigger impact.”
Student athletes jumped at the chance to help the Houston community.
Molly Driscoll, a junior lacrosse player, said she felt relieved when her coach asked the team for donations because when disaster strikes, many people are left unsure on how to help.
“It feels so refreshing to know that your little contribution will make a difference. Being able to show what our school represents is never an opportunity that you have to think twice about,” Driscoll said.
Tristan Slocum, the graduate manager for the women’s basketball team, collected donations from the various coaching staffs. Over the span of the week, Slocum packed and shipped boxes to Houston in an atmosphere he described as, “excited and happy.”
“People at Bona’s come together when there is any type of adversity and work towards getting past it,” Slocum said. “They want to help anyone.”
“We are truly a school based on foundations of community and willingness to help, even to a place that is so far away,” Driscoll said. “Knowing that as students we were able to contribute makes us feel like we made a difference.”
Members of the community interested in sending donations should use the following address: Kelvin Sampson, University of Houston Basketball, Guy V Lewis Development Center, 3480 Cullen Blvd., Houston, TX 77204.