BUFFALO, N.Y. – During the season, it’s hard not to notice the University at Buffalo football team’s success on the field. But this summer, the Bulls also focused on something other than football. The team wanted to make an impact on Buffalo through community service.
Wednesday was the final day of six summer service projects for the Bulls. They completed a wide range of service activities, from concert set up at RiverFest to Field Day at the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Community Center.
“When Coach Matt Gildersleeve arrived here, he set a goal for us to get 500 hours” said sophomore running back Jaret Patterson. “I think it’s important you know to give back this to community. We support them so they can support us and I think it’s just huge that we’re doing this.”
“When they got here today, the kids said “Woah! These are the guys from tv!” “I went to a game before,'” said Resource Council Director of Western New York Program Director Jerrica DeLaney. “It is amazing, the kids are super excited about them being here today and they’re like hometown heroes almost.”
The impact these “hometown heroes” are making on the Buffalo community is one that reaches far beyond the football field.
“The biggest thing we try to explain to them is the biggest thing a college football player has is the platform,”said Bulls Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Gildersleeve. “If you don’t utilize that platform, what are you really doing in your four years? And there’s a lot of things these kids do that are amazing in the weight room and on the field. But in the community, the platform they have is really impactful.”
“This is a great opportunity for the kids to one see the example of service and mentorship,” said DeLaney. “They get to see an example of college going culture, and the beautiful combination of a student and an athlete. it gets them aspiring for more in an implicit way. We’re excited to kind of set the bar in that. UB’s football team, they’re doing a great job and they’re really helping us make that impact for higher education going culture and just showing the kids something different.”