Every undertaking of the South Dakota State Football program is driven by a common force – a commitment to excellence. Excellence is measured by much more than wins and losses within Jackrabbit Football. We are committed to providing each and every student-athlete with a comprehensive collegiate experience that is second to none. A part of the collegiate experience is giving back to the campus, Brookings community, the state of South Dakota, and beyond. In recent years, a commitment to community service has been added to the criteria necessary to earn a varsity letter within the Jackrabbit football program. During recent years, the Jackrabbit Football student-athletes participated in more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time. Over the past few years, SDSU football players have participated in the following community service projects and activities:
*Conducting a youth football clinic each fall and assisting with the annual Fast Break Basketball Clinic, as well as volunteering time working the Willie Mac youth basketball tournament which raises funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Brookings.
*Visiting hospitals and Children’s Home Society care facilities in Sioux Falls as a part of the annual Paint the Falls Blue event.
*Reading at elementary schools in Brookings, along with other school visits to promote exercise and healthy habits.
* Serving as student-athlete ambassadors for the Jackrabbit Scholarship Auction and other Athletic Department fundraising events.
* Taking part in campus cleanup efforts.
* Collecting food for the Brookings Food Pantry.
* Raising more than $5,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network.
* Traveling to Pine Ridge Reservation for the Samaritan’s Feet organization.
* Spending spring break in Jamaica to assist with the reconstruction of communities.
* Assisting with Samartians's Feet organization in Brookings by putting new shoes on over 200 people in need.
Everyone associated with Jackrabbit Athletics understand the important role South Dakota State University plays in the city of Brookings, as well as the state of South Dakota. Because the football program and its student-athletes derive so much support – both financial and emotional – from the residents of the city, state, and region, importance is placed on giving back to the community through service projects, volunteering, and fundraising for charitable organizations.
ALLSTATE GOOD WORKS TEAM
Two members of the Jackrabbit football team — Winston Wright and Zach Zenner — were honored for their community service efforts by being named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Both were recognized during halftime festivities at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Zenner was named to the 22-member team in 2014. He served a key role in numerous community service events as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, including Summit League Food Fight (yearly competition among league schools for donations to local food pantry), Project Joy (holiday toy drive) and campus cleanup. He also worked hree years with the State-a-Thon event to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and has devoted countless hours to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, including coaching children on fundamental football skills, leading devotionals at FCA Power Camp and speaking to area youth groups at other FCA events. In the winter of 2014, Zenner served as a student-athlete ambassador, testifying before state House and Senate Appropriations committees as the state Legislature debated passage of a bill to authorize construction of a new on-campus football stadium. Zenner’s lengthy community service résumé extends beyond the campus and local community as he was one of 25 SDSU student-athletes who traveled to Harmons, Jamaica, in March 2014 on a mission trip to help build two homes and interact with members of the village through the Won by One organization.
In 2013, Wright was honored for his commitment to community service by being named to the 22-member Allstate Good Works Team. Throughout his career as a Jackrabbit, Wright organized or participated in numerous service activities, including leading two groups of SDSU students to Harmons, Jamaica, in which they assisted in the building of six homes for families in need. Wright also participated in shoe donations and sports camps on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Samaritan's Feet organizations, along with mentoring children and speaking at local schools and churches about making positive decisions.
People associated with Jackrabbit Athletics understand the important role South Dakota State University plays in the city of Brookings, as well as the state of South Dakota. Because the football program and its student-athletes derive so much support - both financial and emotional - from the residents of the city, state, and region, importance is placed on giving back to the community through service projects, volunteering, and fund-raising for charitable organizations.