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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

SFSU athletes receive Community Service of the Year Award

The men’s and women’s basketball teams were recognized for their community service efforts, voted on by student-athletes at a recent SAAC conference meeting
Colin Flynn
Devon Jackson, a Junior at SFSU and point guard for the Gators, is seen practicing different shots during practice on Oct. 20, 2023. (Colin Flynn/Golden Gate Xpress)

San Francisco State University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee received its first California Collegiate Athletic Association Cares Community Service Award, specifically for the efforts of the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

In the 2022-23 fall semester, both teams shared time with City East, a nonprofit organization that supports low-income neighborhoods in San Francisco, serving food and delivering gently used clothing.

Additionally, the men’s team partnered with the Pomeroy Center to work with developmentally disabled youth and adults through recreational and educational opportunities.

Devon Jackson, point guard who wears jersey number 13, inbounding a pass while John Bakke, jersey number 34, defends on Oct. 20, 2023. (Colin Flynn/Golden Gate Xpress) Colin Flynn 

Vince Inglima, head coach of the men’s basketball team, said that basketball is important, but SFSU athletics prioritizes academics and giving back to the community to be impactful— not just on the court, but off the court as well.

“The young men in our program, when they finish, are going to be much better basketball players hopefully and we [will] win a lot of games — but also that they are [going to be] better students and better people as well,” Inglima said.

Devon Jackson, guard for the men’s basketball team, said being able to give back to the community puts life into a different perspective for him.

“I’m very grateful for my situation and any chance I can give to make somebody’s day or make somebody feel like they are seen, it just warms my heart,” Jackson said. “I feel like I just grew in a sense of being able to appreciate life and you can always help somebody out in any way, small or big.”

John Bakke, forward for the men’s basketball team, said being able to give back to the community helped the team bond off the court, but also made them realize not to take the opportunity to play basketball for granted.

“At the end of the day, our worst day is someone else’s best day and what we do, not everyone’s able to do and we can’t take it for granted,” Bakke said. “The stuff that we’re doing that we think is hard, running up and down [the court], getting super tired, is honestly something to be thankful for because we’ll look back and realize that we’re not going to be able to do it again. We’re able to do it once and not everyone has this opportunity.”

One way to see growth is to step out of one’s comfort zone. Inglima said that giving back to the community provides some of the players with opportunities for new experiences.

When they are spending time with the community, the players can see the people they help as people and not just someone they pass by on the sidewalk. Being able to connect with the folks in the community is especially evident for freshmen, as it’s their first time.

“After they have done it a few times, they are excited about the day and they get to go out and do something good for someone and see the humanity in everyone,” Inglima said.

Vince Inglima, head basketball coach for the SFSU men’s team, poses for a photo holding a ball during practice in the gymnasium on campus on Oct. 20, 2023. (Colin Flynn/Golden Gate Xpress) Colin Flynn 

As the players connect with people off the court in such moments, Inglima said it helps them bond and see the humanity within their teammates, which in turn doesn’t always translate to the court. However, it could grow a bond in a relationship that could last a lifetime.

Jackson and Bakke expressed that it’s nice to be recognized for their efforts.

“It’s cool,” Jackson said. We don’t really do it for an award or to be noticed. It’s just kind of something we want to do.”

They hope it brings awareness for more to participate in seeing their communities.

“I think it’s a good thing, but the main reason we do it is obviously to give back, get that experience, bring everybody together and also to help people in need,” Bakke said. “The award is a good thing, not in terms of winning it, but in terms of giving more opportunity for it to be seen that people should be doing these types of things in other programs, other organizations, just to give back to whoever may win.”

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About the Contributors
Destiny Walker
Destiny Walker, Online Editor
Destiny Walker (she/her) is the online editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Labor and Employment. She is from Sacramento, California, born and raised. This semester her beat will be about sports, but when she is not writing about sports she’s probably playing them. She grew up watching and playing sports so she loves to be active, whether that's a pickup basketball game or adventuring the great outdoors.
Colin Flynn
Colin Flynn, Photographer
Colin is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He was born and raised in San Diego but lives in San Francisco. Colin started shooting photos while skateboarding with his friends. He has also won a photograph contest hosted by Levi Jeans & The Berrics.

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