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Student-athletes awarded for giving back

The 2023 Utah Athletes in Service Award recognizes student-athletes with a demonstrated commitment to community engagement. As athletes, the University of Utah community of students, faculty, staff and alumni supports them. In turn, many of them give back to our community in various ways.

The Bennion Center, in collaboration with U of U Athletics, honored Summer Stanford and Madeline Woznick with this annual award during the first quarter at Saturday’s California vs. Utah football game (Oct. 14).

“The Bennion Center encourages community engagement as an integral part of the educational experience at the U,” said BobbiJo Kanter, Bennion Center director. “These student-athletes are committed to making important contributions in the community as they also compete on the field, court, track and pool, and maintain rigorous academic schedules. Student-athletes are role models on our campus and remind us all that engaging with justice-related issues is vital to building strong communities.”

Summer Stanford at FeedU Food Pantry

Summer Stanford is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in information systems as well as a three-time NCAA Qualifier on the Women’s Swim team. Stanford contributes her time and energy to the UFIT program—designed for children with intellectual disabilities to engage in physical activities in a fun, non-competitive environment. She is also an active volunteer with the FeedU Food Pantry ensuring this invaluable resource is open and available to those who are in need of the pantry’s services. She also works to encourage other athletes to join her in these efforts—Stanford said: “As a Crimson Council (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) Community Engagement Executive Member, I look forward to helping student-athletes engage in the efforts of the FeedU pantry to fight food insecurity, as well as find opportunities that they are passionate about and look forward to.”

Madeline Woznick at UFIT

Madeline “Maddie” Woznick, a fifth-year senior majoring in kinesiology with a minor in integrative human biology holds the third fastest 100 free time in Utah history as well as selection as a CSAA Scholar All-American and Pac-12 All-Academic selection. Woznick is also an active volunteer with the UFIT program—she shared “Being able to help has allowed the children to feel like they can do things and show the world they aren’t ruled by their disabilities. My service has impacted my future plans because I would love to continue to work with these communities to make a difference in their lives and to make them feel like they belong.” Woznick also contributed time to the Utah Food Bank, Lodi Fire Foundation and Plaza Robles High School.

Both awardees have experience with the Bennion Center as well—participating in Community Partnership Programs (UFIT & Feed U Food Pantry) as well as attending Saturday Service Projects and Service Corner events. Stanford said that “the Bennion Center is a resource to help students discover opportunities for community engagement. They (the Bennion Center) support many issues such as sustainability, health, youth, food insecurity and more, and they offer a variety of opportunities based on various interests and levels of commitments.”