Like many sports teams at Carlow University, women’s tennis participates in community service projects every year.

In the midst of a busy regular season schedule, they helped clean up the city with the assistance of Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership and Pittsburgh Cares.

The athletes picked up trash and scraped stickers off public property. According to Coach Sam Lovaglio, senior captain Emily Armstrong and co-captain Justina Jacquillard came up with the idea.

“I wanted to set up something that would benefit our community; since we had a rough winter, many athletes on our team suggested that we do something outside,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong, a double major in biology/studio art and a four-year player for the Celtics, thought spring would be the best time for the team to participate.

“I know being a full-time student is very busy, and since a lot of our players are nursing majors, I thought it would be better to do it this semester instead of doing it in the fall,” she said.

Lovaglio agreed with the timing of the project.

“It’s nice to do a project when the entire team is comfortable with one another,” she said. “The freshmen are practicing and playing with our returning athletes, and they have built relationships. We’ve previously done projects in the fall, but it always seems to be easier in season.”

Armstrong added, “I think volunteering and spending time with each other really brought us together because we were able to spend the morning getting to know a little bit more about one another and joke around while simultaneously helping the community.”

On the bus ride back to campus, the team was already discussing the next project, Lovaglio said.

“It is the best feeling as a coach when your athletes want to give back,” she said. “Not just as a requirement, but as something they want to do and that’s good for the soul.”

The team also organized a campus-wide collection of toiletry items and lightly worn clothing for the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

“Service is not only part of Carlow’s values, but is a huge part of our NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) core values,” Lovaglio said. “We discussed the Carlow values of service and mercy, and NAIA values of responsibility and servant leadership during our project. Part of the process is realizing that we are called to do things that are selfless and to give back to the community where we live and work.”

By Karina Graziani