Division III Week Inspires Leadership and Involvement

Recognizing Athletes and Serving the Community


Holden Andrews

Bridgewater freshman and member of the women’s golf team Hannah Woodson carries a bucket of water on her head during the walk.

Kalli Walling, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – The National Collegiate Athletic Association had its annual Division III Week, held April 1-7. Division III Week is an opportunity to recognize the impact of Division III athletics and student-athletes. 

Every Division III school is encouraged to participate in events within three categories: academic accomplishment, athletic experience and/or leadership/community service/campus involvement. Bridgewater College participated in Division III Week with multiple events throughout the week.

Bridgewater College started the week off with a “Walk for Water” fundraiser. Walk for Water is an event to raise awareness for those who have to walk for their water. Participants carried buckets of water for a little over a mile. Bridgewater College had 320 participants and was able to collect $832.69 to donate to the Water Mission.

Jessy Barley, a junior of the women’s golf team, participated in the Walk for Water. Barley said, “It raised awareness for people that maybe don’t have safe drinking water, or that have to travel a long way to get their water.  It shows us what that feels like to have to go through that to just get what we consider an everyday thing.”

The next event, the Alumni Networking Event, was for student-athletes to meet with alumni. This gave the student-athletes a chance to interact with alumni, learn about their experiences and build connections for their future. 

Sophomore on the Volleyball Team, Lindsay Olzawski, attended the event and talked to a volleyball alum Jill Early. Olzawski said, “I learned that even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, there are still opportunities to get a job right out of college.” 

Students attended author Dave Essinger’s Convocation on Thursday, April 4. Essinger is the author of Running Out, a book based on ultrarunning. Essinger received his Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is teaching creative writing and edits the literary magazine, Slippery Elm, at the University of Findlay. Essinger read some parts of his novel and talked about his experience as an ultrarunner.

To close out the week, the Bridgewater Student-Athlete Advisory Committee ran a Special Olympics mini golf event at Sandy Bottom Park. 

Bridgewater College students and the Olympians were grouped to go through the 18 holes. There were 40 Bridgewater College Students and 25 Special Olympians who attended the event. SAAC President Brett Jones has had the opportunity to help organize the Division III Week activities for three years now.

Jones described this event to have a special place in his heart. Jones said, “The event itself was successful because of the smiles on both the Olympians’ and students’ faces. The opportunity we get to spend with this group is fulfilling and for students who have their first interaction with Special Olympians, it’s quite life-changing.”