SAN RAMON, Calif. — University of California San Diego junior Andrew Dirks has been named 2017-18 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Impact Award winner, the conference announced on Monday.
The Impact Award recognizes a CCAA student-athlete who has exemplified leadership through participation in community service and engagement activities while maintaining dedication to academics and athletics. Selections are made by the conference's 13 member institutions' athletic staff and their respective Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
A junior sprinter from Yorba Linda, Dirks is an active member of the UC San Diego Triton Athlete Council (TAC) and sits on the TAC executive board as the head liaison for Community Outreach and Service. Through TAC, Dirks has displayed exemplary efforts to increase student-athlete involvement throughout the community.
Among Dirks most notable community service efforts in 2017-18 include Adopt-A-Family, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the CCAA Canned Food Drive, the annual UC San Diego American Red Cross Blood Drive, the Triton 5K, IMPACT and TAC Team-Up!
During fall quarter, Dirks and his track & field teammates volunteered at the Toler Elementary Halloween Carnival and Encanto Elementary School's Career Day. The junior also coordinated the annual Adopt-A-Family event hosted in partnership with the local non-profit Neighborhood House Association. Through Dirks' outreach efforts, each team donated presents to low-income families for the holiday season.
Dirks continued his community service efforts in the winter, coordinating with the UC San Diego Center for Student Involvement to host a sports camp at Baker Elementary. During this time, 23 Tritons from six different teams participated to encourage the youth to be more active and enjoy sports.
In addition, Dirks had a key role in increasing visibility for the CCAA food drive, working with UC San Diego's Housing, Dining and Hospitality departments for the placement of additional collection bins in high-visibility areas during the drive. As a result, UC San Diego contributed 1,965 donations to the Triton Food Pantry.
Dirks recently received the UC San Diego Karen E. Reis Award for leadership and community service, and is the lead contact and organizer for UC San Diego athletics enrichment programs IMPACT and Team-Up!
"Andrew has a phenomenal relationship with the athletics department," said UC San Diego Equity, Diversity and Inclusion assistant Megan Gesner. "Whenever TAC volunteers UC San Diego Athletics for a community outreach event, Andrew takes the time to personally reach out to all staff and coaches to explain the purpose and importance of the event.
"It is through these moments of attentiveness that Andrew exemplifies the highest quality of leadership, not only as a student-athlete, but as an individual and changemaker."
Criteria student-athletes must meet in order to be eligible include being academically and athletically eligible and in good academic standing, compete in the academic year of the nomination, participate in community service activities both as a member of a team as well as outside team activities and demonstrate activities that exemplify leadership.
CCAA Impact Award Winners
2015-16: Lindsey Armstrong, Cal State Dominguez Hills (women's soccer)
2016-17: Haley Kroll, Chico State (cross country/track & field)
2017-18: Andrew Dirks, UC San Diego (track & field)