Sean Longley, Southwestern University, Men's Track & Field

Sean Longley, Southwestern University, Men's Track & Field

SEAN LONGLEY OF SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, a freshman on the men's track and field team from Phoenix, Ariz., has been selected as the SCAC Character & Community Male Student-Athlete of the Week for the week beginning March 16.

The SCAC Character & Community award honors the efforts of student-athletes who excel in the field of athletics, and also serve their campus and community.

Longley, who will be finishing his first year at Southwestern University, spent a gap year before entering college and worked with Americorps.  

AmeriCorps is a government servers program that offers a variety of opportunities through different programs, from helping in the classroom to the outdoors and diverse communities. 

Longley chose to work with National Civilian Community Core (NCCC) which is a residential program designed for young adults who want to serve full-time on a tight-knit team. Longley signed up for a ten-month program where he helped with several community service projects around the country. 

He totaled seven significant projects where he helped with hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico, Jacksonville and Panama City, Florida. He helped with Habitat for Humanity in Massachusetts, worked with a Boys and Girls Club in Rhode Island as well as rebuilt trails in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Mammoth Cave National Park.

For Longley, the experience of working with AmeriCorps pushed his boundaries to be out of his comfort zone. He says that it was a benefit for him personally because he had never been away from home for more than two weeks. Longley believes that the experience helped him grow and prepared him for his transition into college and living on his own.  

"I got the experience to go out and live with people who I didn't really know, and we were a mismatched group of strangers – an odd dysfunctional family that did a lot of cool work with each other. It was really good for me to see how people work outside of my family," he said. 

In his ten-month program before college, Longley experienced "many walks of life" as he would put it to give him not only a well-rounded experience but the chance to grow and learn before entering Southwestern University.