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RMU Women’s Basketball “Step It Up” For Community Service

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pittsburgh – It’s been a busy week for the Robert Morris University women’s basketball team. Not just because of classes and workouts, but because the team became involved in the local community even though the fall semester is just four weeks old. Head coach Sal Buscaglia has announced the year-long “Step It Up Program” that is a community service program for the women’s basketball team and staff. 

That initiative to reach out has seen the team run a 5K race in Sewickley, Pa., and help the staff at Moon Area School District’s Hyde Elementary School with its anti-bullying campaign. Future events include volunteering for on-campus programs, visiting area schools as well as scheduling visits to community centers and schools when the team travels during the season. 

“Associate head coach Charlie Buscaglia and myself felt that the quality young women we have on the team could be outstanding role models for young boys and girls while helping them develop as people and students in a wide variety of areas,” said Buscaglia. “We want to truly change lives.” 

Most recently, five Robert Morris players visited Hyde Elementary where school principal Joe Johnson was holding an assembly to introduce its anti-bullying program. 

“I’m hoping what they got out of today’s program was the opportunity to see what making somebody feel good about themselves can really do for someone’s self-esteem,” said Johnson. “A positive comment or helping somebody can really allow them to perform much better whether it be at school, home or at athletics.” 

Juniors Kelly Hartwell (Woodbridge, Va. / Gar-Field), Artemis Spanou (Rhodes, Greece / Nea Smyrni), Anna Kavasila (Cholargos, Greece / Glyfada) and Britta Emberg (Cowansville, Pa. / Kittaning) and freshman Randi Jackson (Oakland, Calif. / Bishop O’Dowd) talked about the role that teamwork and teammates can have in creating a positive experience. RMU head coach Sal Buscaglia continued along that line of thought, reminding the students that they are all on the same team – the Hyde team. 

Spanou and Kavasila, both natives of Greece, were especially appreciative of how patient and accepting the rest of their Colonial teammates were despite the cultural and language barriers that existed we they came to campus in 2010. 

“Teamwork makes everything better,” said Spanou. “Helping your teammates, classmates or roommates will always make whatever your goal is easier. So just remember that word—teamwork.” 

Following the assembly, Johnson explained that all the students, and all visitors, would leave their thumbprint on a banner near the entrance to the school as a pledge to not allow bullying to take place in the school. The RMU players were the first to take that pledge, leaving their thumbprints and signatures on the board. 

The program concluded outside in front of the school where Johnson unveiled a flag that would fly below the American flag. The red banner, featuring the words “Hyde Pride – Say NO to bullying”, would serve as a reminder to anyone entering the school grounds that bullying would not be tolerated. 

Saturday, Sept. 22, the team took part in the Heritage Valley Health System Sewickley 5K Heart and Sole Run. The event benefits the Cardiology Fund at Heritage Valley Sewickley along with a portion of the proceeds going to the Sewickley Valley YMCA. Instead of taking part in their usual conditioning program, the team and staff opted to take part in the race. 

If you know, or are part of, an organization that may benefit from the Step It Up program, please contact Coach Sal at 412-397-4974.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.