Oct 17th, 2011 @ 8:17 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
Valley City State University has again been named a Five Star Champions of Character institution by our national athletic affiliation, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This designation by the NAIA is awarded to recognize the many accomplishments of student-athletes, both in and outside the competitive arena. The Five Star award specifically honors university athletic programs focused on the NAIA's five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. We are proud of the rich history and positive impact the athletic programs and student-athletes have had at VCSU, and this newest designation is yet another important chapter in that history.

NAIA colleges and universities complete an annual "Scorecard" to evaluate the success of their student-athletes based on the following: character training; conduct in competition; academic focus; character recognition; and character promotion. These scores recognize such attributes as sportsmanship and community outreach activities. Institutions are also awarded points based on student-athletes' overall grade point averages as well as other initiatives that emphasize the core values and character-driven focus of the NAIA. In the final, year-end 2010-11 Champions of Character rankings released earlier this month, VCSU finished in the top 10% among all of the approximately 270 colleges and universities that comprise the NAIA.

Approximately 250 students at VCSU are involved with intercollegiate athletics – think for a moment how different the campus and Valley City community would be without the contributions these 250 students make to our region.

VCSU student-athletes participate in community service projects throughout the year. These activities include door-to-door solicitations for the annual United Way Campaign, helping with Ruckus at the Rec, volunteering with local elementary students, clearing snow from fire hydrants in the winter, and bell-ringing for the Salvation Army. Our student-athletes are also involved with many various athletic camps during the summer that benefit area youth campers.
Of course, VCSU student-athletes (along with all of our students) have also played a key role during recent spring flood fighting efforts in the past few years. They have been instrumental with the time, determination, and muscle they have lent toward the overall efforts. The student contributions have helped ensure Valley City and our region has been successful with these battles.

VCSU coaching staffs set priorities and expectations with their student-athletes. These priorities extend far beyond the playing field and court, so the coaches also deserve credit for this Champions of Character accomplishment and national recognition of VCSU's athletic programs. We are truly performing at the very highest levels within the entire NAIA, and all of our fans and supporters should take great pride in this recognition.

If you have not yet attended a VCSU sporting event this year, I hope you will take the opportunity to do so in the coming weeks. Our student-athletes certainly appreciate the crowd support and look forward to having you in the stands to cheer them on. Go Vikings!