UM student-athletes assist with Night of Champions

Published 3:47 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Over 40 members and student-athletes from the University of Montevallo athletic department took part in the Lakeshore Foundation’s third Night of Champions, a celebration of the state of Alabama’s Olympic connection and the culture of the host country for the 2008 Olympic Games, China.

The Aug. 8 event, which attracted nearly 700 attendees, served as a marquee fundraising event for the Lakeshore Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that assists persons with physically disabling conditions while also serving as an official U.S. Paralympics training site.

Highlights of the event included big screen projections of the Opening Ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad live from Beijing, local Chinese cuisine and décor paying homage to the host country, past and present Olympic and Paralympics athletes, and unique items presented through an auction/raffle.

In the spirit of the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Initiative, Montevallo student-athletes, representing the men’s and women’s soccer, crosscountry and volleyball teams, were joined by a number of other community groups, including the Shelby County Arts Council, the Montevallo Arts Council and the city of Montevallo in providing host services for the event.

“This was a great opportunity for our student-athletes to get off campus and be involved in our community,” said crosscountry head coach Michael Marquardt. “The Night of Champions was a tremendous event with many supporters and we had a chance to meet and spend time with many people that our student-athletes would not have met otherwise.”

UM provided nine 10-foot banners emblazoned with the word “Welcome” in almost 50 different languages. These banners were displayed in the Foundation’s field house and will be hung in the university’s cafeteria to welcome international students to the campus for the beginning of the fall semester on Aug. 25.

Jen Remick, special events coordinator for Lakeshore Foundation, praised the work of UM student-athletes. The event, she said, was significantly enhanced by their service and cooperation. “The event has been met with great success thanks in large part to the involvement of our volunteers and key community leaders,” she said.

During the event, Falcon student-athletes served as greeters provided complimentary shuttle service for patrons, served food and cleared tables, assisted with meet and greets for Paralympic athletes, and assisted with other related tasks.

“It was a great experience for us as student-athletes to represent the University of Montevallo at such an important community event,” women’s soccer player Paula Radmard said. “Having the chance to meet members of the American and Brazilian Paralympic teams was a great privilege and awe-inspiring. They have great talent and such high spirits for their sports. People from all over the world were at the Lakeshore Foundation on Friday wearing clothes, demonstrating dances, and telling stories from their culture. It was great to meet new people from all over the world and to be a part of such a well organized event.”