DURHAM, N.C. - If it isn’t enough that Duke student-athletes continue to raise the bar with their academic accolades and phenomenal on-the-field performances, now they are raising money for their own athletic department.
Beginning in December 2013, the Iron Dukes, the fundraising arm of Duke Athletics, spearheaded the Student-Athlete Development Campaign, open to those student athletes wishing to gain experience in the world of athletics development, and improve their communication and interpersonal skills. Since the launch of the program, over $25,000 has been raised.
Maintained by the efforts of Zach White, Assistant Director of the Iron Dukes Annual Fund, Billy Zarzour, Iron Dukes Varsity Club Assistant and Megan Taub, Iron Dukes Annual Fund Assistant, the SADC program meets multiple times a week.
“Being able to provide Duke student-athletes with lifelong skills is a goal of all of us in the Athletic Department wherever we find the opportunity, and this program is proving valuable in this regard,” White said .
The program features athletes from numerous sports and also includes team managers and practice players. Elizabeth Kerpon, a member of Duke’s track and field program, is appreciative of the opportunity.
”I thought it was a really cool idea to be able to get the athletes involved in the fundraising through the Iron Dukes,” Kerpon said. “Specifically for me, because the program and these scholarships have given me a lot, and I just want to give back.”
Members of the program are asked to call former student-athletes, alumni or other Duke Athletics supporters. Women’s basketball manager and practice player Brian McPartland thinks it is an advantage.
”These people love Duke Athletics as much as we do; most of them think it is really cool to speak with the athletes they go to see on a regular basis, and I think being able to have that connection between the athletes and the fans really makes things special,” McPartland chimed in.
SADC offers many benefits to those in the program. Student-athletes active in the program have even used the internship in job interviews when asked for examples of sales and marketing experience.
“I became more confident in selling myself and introducing the Iron Dukes as a product- in sales and marketing you must build a mutual relationship with the client in order for them to give you what you are asking for,” added senior forward Laura Weinberg. “SADC has given us the opportunity to practice that skill.”
Current members of the SADC program include: senior Miray Seward, juniors Elizabeth Kerpon and Terrence Neal of track and field, redshirt juniors Will Monday and Nick Hill of football, senior McKay Ross of field hockey, junior Caroline Conklin of swimming and diving, senior Laura Weinberg of women’s soccer and women’s basketball practice player and manager Brian McPartland.
The SADC program will continue to operate until May and will welcome a new group of student-athletes in the fall.
For more information on the Iron Dukes or SADC, please visit http://www.irondukes.net/ or call 919-613-7575.