April 16, 2013
By Ryan Madden - Mizzou Athletics Strategic Communications -
COLUMBIA, Mo. - This past week, student-athletes from each of Mizzou's 20-sport athletic program got together in the media room on the floor-level of Mizzou Arena to make a few phone calls. Their message was both simple and sincere: "Thank you."
They were gathering for what has become known as the `Thank-a-Thon', an annual event put on by the department's Tiger Scholarship Fund (TSF), a program which, with the support of donors from all across the country, is able to provide scholarship assistance for Mizzou's student-athlete population in the form of tuition, room, board, academic counseling and a myriad of other mechanisms which help to enrich the student-athlete experience here at the University Of Missouri. The Thank-a-Thon, a two-week event where Mizzou student-athletes spend evenings calling TSF members in order to say "thank you," is one of the ways that student-athletes are able to give back to those who so generously give to Mizzou Athletics.
Alyssa Diggs, a lightning-quick junior forward on the women's soccer team says that the experience of calling people she has never spoken with before was "a little nerve-wracking at first,"but recognizes how important these events are. "The student-athlete experience here at Mizzou is great," Diggs said. "We have amazing facilities, equipment, new uniforms and academic support. I know that not all schools have the things we do, and it was nice to take some time and thank those people who make it all possible," she said.
This year's Thank-a-Thon was spread out over 10 days, with phone calls taking place between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. nightly. The hope was for student-athletes from every sport to get to speak one-on-one with as many donors as possible to let them know how much their contributions make a difference in the lives of athletes here on campus. One of the most exciting aspects of the annual event is the enjoyment that TSF members showed upon learning that the voice on the other end of the phone was that of a Mizzou student-athlete. "It was cool to hear how appreciative the people that we spoke with were that we were taking the time to call," says Mizzou football offensive lineman Mitch Hall. "It was great to get the chance to talk to the people who make our experiences as student-athletes possible."
One of those who seemed to relish the chance to speak with TSF members the most was Hall's teammate, fellow offensive lineman, Max Copeland. "This is an important event for us," says Copeland. "It's a privilege to be a scholarship athlete. It's not something that we take for granted and the opportunity we have as student-athletes to do what we love is made possible because of people who donate to our scholarship fund. It was great to have the chance to call and talk. We just want to let those people know how much we appreciate them."
The Thank-a-Thon is one of the many ways in which the student-athlete population at Mizzou engage themselves in the pursuit of the Athletic Department's core values of social responsibility, academic integrity and competitive excellence. Senior Director of Development Carly Northup says, "This is an annual event that has become a tradition for our student-athletes to not only reach out and express their appreciation to our donor base, but also to personally interact with those who generously choose to give to Mizzou. We desire to create a culture of gratitude and philanthropy among our student-athletes and the athletic department as a whole, and we hope that our student-athlete Thank-a-Thon is a sincere expression of this gratitude."
For more information on how to support Tiger student-athletes through the Tiger Scholarship Fund, please visit www.tsf-mizzou.com, or call the TSF office at 573-882-0704.