Last month USMMA junior Chelsea Tapper (Brooklyn, NY) planned, promoted, and ran a successful fundraiser that generated over $13,000 for the St. Baldrick's foundation in support of finding a cure for childhood cancer. Tapper, a member of the Merchant Marine Track & Field team is a prime example of what should be highlighted during NCAA Division III week. The purpose of the week-long celebration is to call due attention to the activities and accomplishments of student-athletes throughout Division III athletics. The initiative has been guided by a strategic-positioning platform describing Division III as a place where student-athletes can "follow your passions and develop your potential".
Tapper began organizing the event, which took place on March 14 and set a goal of 50 shaves and a total of $1,500. She got involved in the event because, "I have about 15 younger cousins, all of whom are thankfully very healthy, but I wanted to help those families less fortunate than mine." The response around campus was overwhelming with over 200 attendees leaving with buzz cuts and $13,100, and counting, being contributed towards Midshipman Tapper's cause.
"The USMMA community is a place that allows us midshipmen to live our motto, Acta Non Verba, to be able to put actions into motion instead of just talking about doing good things. To me, this community is a place that allows me to do good," said Tapper.
This will not be the only time that Tapper stands out among midshipmen-athletes for outstanding community service. This coming June she has planned a two weeks trip for herself and eight other midshipmen to travel to Guatemala to volunteer with the international non-profit organization Cross-Cultural Solutions. Tapper, who was recruited by the USMMA athletic department, contributes her leadership and teamwork skills as well as her strength to competing in Division III athletics as she also prepares to pass her Naval Reserve requirements.
Tapper is a shining example that a truly good person will continue to do good and make a positive impact despite a busy schedule, rigorous academics, or regimental responsibilities. "I have learned to never be afraid to try something different, to think outside of the box. The worst that can happen is you are told no. However you'll never know until you try, it is worth it to put yourself out there."
Division III is the largest division within the NCAA and includes 446 member institutions and 43 voting conferences, which comprises 40 percent of the NCAA's total membership. NCAA Division III week will be celebrated across the country, fans can follow @NCAADIII and use #D3Week for more information.