Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs has partnered with Sun Devil Athletics on a new program for student athletes to gain leadership skills through community service involvement.
Tip of the Fork allows high-achieving student athletes from all university sports to work together on community service projects over the course of three years, said academic coach Shelby Crabtree. Student athletes complete over 100 hours of community service, along with their regular schoolwork.
“There is a natural correlation between participation in athletics and leadership,” said Jean Boyd, senior associate athletic director for Sun Devil athletic. “The goal of the Tip of the Fork program is to cultivate our best and brightest into agents of impact among their teams, campus and the local and global community.”
Student athletes are selected to the program based on athletic and academic performance, along with leadership skills demonstrated on and off the field.
Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs said, “This is an opportunity for students who have a passion for public service to put their ideas and innovation to work today to make meaningful, positive change in our community.”
Elisha Davis, a junior on ASU’s women’s basketball team, said she applied for the program because she wants to help people and make a difference in the community.
“Additionally, I think this program will help make me a better person because I will be more hands-on in the community and I will see how grateful and appreciative I should really be due to me seeing others' unfortunate circumstances,” she said.
Not only will the program enhance student athletes’ resumes, the program allows them to engage with other student athletes from different sports and majors across the university. They will work together in a team environment to better serve the community.
Crabtree said student athletes remain in the program until they graduate as long as they uphold the standards and requirements necessary to be in the program. If a student athlete faces challenges maintaining the academic standards, they may be put on a probationary period.
“Ultimately, academic success and degree completion are the main priority,” she said. “However, we will work with a student athlete to try to determine how they can be successful academically while in the program before going to such measures.”
Crabtree added the 18-person inaugural Tip of the Fork cohort will serve as mentors for future cohorts. In the long term, the program will not exceed more than 25 students.
Upon graduating with their degree, student athletes in the program will receive a certificate in leadership and service. Student athletes with exceptional academic reports and a desire to serve their community and make a positive difference are encouraged to apply.