Past spotlights

Men’s Tennis

The men’s tennis team raises awareness for multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an unpredictable, and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Damage to myelin and nerve fibers interferes with the transmission of nerve signals between the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. Although no two patients are alike, the some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, numbness or tingling, weakness, muscle spasms, vision problems, and walking difficulties.

In 2013, the team chose to raise awareness for MS because several members of the team have personal connections to the disease. To raise awareness for MS, the team hosts Smash MS, which is a public tennis clinics. Although the clinics are free, the team collects donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Smash MS

Men’s Soccer

Ten years ago, the men’s soccer team began working with Grassroot Soccer, an organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to stop the spread of HIV. Founded by four professional soccer players, Grassroot Soccer is mobilizing the most vulnerable population of youth, ages 13-18, to break the cycle of AIDS by engaging local coaches who equip young people with the knowledge, skills and support they need to avoid HIV.

Every year, the men’s soccer team hosts a Grassroot Soccer game during its opening pre-season scrimmage. Donations are collected from fans at the game. In addition, the donations are matched from the some of the funds raised during the team’s summer camps.

The team also runs a 3 v 3 bare foot tournament every year called Lose the Shoes. The tournament is held on campus and symbolizes the way young Africans play soccer in their bare feet. The tournament is open to all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, faculty and staff. The teams that make to the semifinal and final rounds get to play their games during halftime at both the men’s and women’s soccer games.

Women’s Tennis

The Notre Dame Women’s Tennis team is dedicated to working with children with pediatric cancer through Fighting Irish Fight for Life (FIFL). Last fall, the team signed up to work with Sophia who is described as, “a ball of sunshine and huge supporter of the tennis team.” Sophia shows up to nearly every tennis match with a big smile. The team has spent a lot of time with Sophia over the last year.


Last Christmas, the team volunteered at the annual Pediatric Cancer Christmas Party and helped Sophia and the other kids decorate cookies and cupcakes and make Christmas crafts. In April, the Notre Dame Softball team held a FIFL event where Sophia and the other FIFL children were able to run around the bases and sign player cards to give to the fans in the crowd.

Sophia at the FIFL softball game in April

Sophia at the FIFL softball game in April

In May, Sophia’s grandfather invited members of the team to surprise Sophia at a fundraising breakfast in Goshen. Sophia and the team played alligator tag, a game they invented, and had a great time. Monica, a rising junior on the team who is very close to Sophia, shared the following reflection about the visit.

“To me, Sophia is a true warrior. She is a star who immediately brightens the room and spreads happiness to those around her. Her parents thanked us for visiting and spending the afternoon with her, but in all honesty, I thanked them because Sophia has warmed my heart and taught me humility. She is a child who was born with cancer, yet she continues to smile and laugh. I truly believe in the saying, ‘God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers’ because indeed Sophia is a tough soldier.”


Thank you Women’s Tennis for your dedication to making Sophia’s world brighter with your friendship and thank you for your support to raise awareness for pediatric cancer!

Women’s Rowing

Since 2011, the women’s rowing team has been dedicated to raising awareness and research funds for pancreatic cancer. The team chose this cause because a team member’s mother passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Every year, the team hosts an erg-a-thon at the Fieldhouse Mall where participants compete in a fastest time competition at a short distance on erg machines. There is also a competition between dorms to earn points towards the Hall Cup.

To raise money, the team sells t-shirts, hosts a raffle, and asks all participants to make a small donation towards the cause. The team has raised more than $15,000 for pancreatic cancer research, which includes more than $11,0000 raised in 2013 alone.

All funds raised are donated to pancreatic cancer research at the Harper Cancer Research Institute and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The funds donated to Harper are specifically used to fund undergraduate researchers who study pancreatic cancer in Prof. Reggie Hill’s lab.

Thank you to the rowing team for the dedication to pancreatic cancer awareness and research!

Women’s Volleyball

Cashore 9.7 Volleball 1

Each year, the volleyball team hosts “Block Out Cancer,” a game dedicated to raising money for Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center’s (SJRMC) Foundation and the Women’s Task Force to benefit women with cancer in our community. The SJRMC Women’s Task Force is a group of cancer survivors who have united empower women and promote education, awareness, early dedication, and supportive care to women Michiana community. Through knowledge and support, they promote optimal health for women, whether they have been directly or indirectly touched by breast cancer.

During the game, the volleyball team sells t-shirts and hosts an auction for pink jerseys. In addition to the fundraising, cancer survivors are honored on the court during intermission. Fans are also encouraged to wear pink to the game to help #PinkOutPurcell. The team members are dedicated to this cause because they want to help cure this horrible and prevalent disease that has affected so many people in their lives.

Thank you to the volleyball team for supporting women in our community who have been affected by breast cancer!

Cashore 9.5 Volleyball 3

Women’s Golf

Every spring break, the Notre Dame women’s golf team hosts a tournament in Mesa, AZ called the Clover Cup. As part of their trip, the ladies visit with the patients Cardon Children’s Medical Center to do arts and crafts projects and play games. The visits give the patients an opportunity to just have fun and be kids, without worrying about what brought them to the hospital.

Learn more about the Clover Cup and visits to the children’s hospital in the video below.

golf team


In addition to their work with the children’s hospital, the team’s coaches Susan Holt and Kyle Lynn Demeter, have been very supportive of the College of Science fundraising efforts. They have participated in Pink Zone by spinning at the 24-hour Spin-a-Thons and donating silent auction items, such as golf lessons. They have also participated at the Parseghian Classic to help raise money for NPC.

Parseghian Classic_Wgolf

Thank you Notre Dame women’s golf for all that you do!

Women’s Lacrosse

Apr. 19, 2014; Women's Lacrosse Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Women’s lacrosse recently launched a new initiative called Daughters for Dads, which honors the team’s alumnae who have lost their dads to cancer. The goal of the initiative is to raise funds for cancer research. The team chose Daughters for Dads because for the majority of the team, their passion for lacrosse started in the backyard playing with their dads. The ladies wanted to remember the fathers that they have lost and honor those that they still have.

This first year was a building year as the team worked to get this initiative off the ground. The team’s goals for the years to come is to increase student involvement and gain a sponsorship locally. This year, they marketed one of the games as a Daughters for Dads game. Coach Halfpenny pledged to donate $10/goal scored in the game against Michigan (which they scored 21) to the Harper Cancer Research Institute. In the future, the team hopes to get more involvement from fans and the community for similar pledges.

To get students around campus involved with Daughters for Dads, the team created “Lax on the Quad” and promoted the Daughters for Dads game at the event. Hosted on North Quad, the event was a competition that gave each student 30 seconds to score as many goals as possible on a shooting net. The winner was given a gift card to the bookstore. There was an impressive involvement from the student body! All the girls from the team were there in shifts to help make the event happen. The team’s goal next year is to move the event to South Quad, and find a local business to pledge a dollar amount for every goal scored over the course of the event.

LAX on the Quad

LAX on the Quad

Men’s Lacrosse

Men's Lacrosse

The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team is very service-oriented and is dedicated to working with youth in our community. The team has partnered with Dickinson School for a mentoring program that serves at-risk middle school students.

Two to three times per month, the team visits the school to work with the kids in the program. Each team member is paired with a student for the year and the pairs work on homework as well as fun activities aimed at developing strong bonds and friendships.

The mentoring program has been extremely successful. When many of the students first enter the program, they usually arrive without any aspirations to be involved in extracurricular activities or attend college. After meeting and getting to know their mentors throughout the school year, the students begin getting excited about the prospect of college and develop an interest in trying sports, after-school clubs, or other activities.

Dickinson School Mentoring Program

Dickinson School Mentoring Program

The team also participates with OWLS – Outreach with Lacrosse & Schools – in Chicago. Twice a year, they travel to Chicago to mentor budding lacrosse players and help out with special projects around the schools, including raking leaves and cleaning attics, churches, and neighborhoods.

In addition to its work with Dickinson School and OWLS, the team always finds a way to incorporate a service project when it’s on the road. The team has hosted youth lacrosse clinics across the country in Seattle and California during fall break. The players have also visited children’s hospitals, such as the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver, to spend the day with patients. The hospital visits give the patients an opportunity to forget about what brought them to the hospital, to have fun, and just be kids for a while.

Thank you, Notre Dame Lacrosse, for your dedication to the mentoring and development of youth in our community!

Women’s Soccer

Women's Soccer

The SEGway (Soccer Empowering Girls Worldwide and You) Project uses soccer to empower girls in the developing world, helping them to fulfill their potential both on and off the field. They use the soccer field as an extension of the classroom where a girl can learn to be competitive, gain self-confidence, and acquire the life skills needed to “segway” into the leader she was born to be. The hope is that this will translate off the field into a stronger community and a new generation of powerful women.

The SEGway Project was founded by three former Notre Dame Women’s Soccer players, Lindsay Brown, Courtney Barg, and Liz McNeil. The idea of SEGway came about after the 2010 National Championship season when Lindsay organized a fundraiser where the team made and sold cupcakes to raise money to help a little girl go to Kopila Valley School in Nepal. That semester the team raised enough money to send three girls to school. The following summer Lindsay visited the girls at Kopila Valley School; volunteering and coaching their first ever girls’ soccer team. Lindsay realized how transformative of a role soccer could play in a girl’s life and formed SEGway. The project is now supporting teams not only in Nepal, but also in Cambodia and Kenya.



The Notre Dame Women’s Soccer Team has continued to support this organization not only due to the connection of the wonderful alumnae who started it, but because they entire team understands the overall value soccer has in their lives on and off the field. It is really meaningful for them to assist others in getting the opportunity to experience soccer, especially in third world countries where females often aren’t given this opportunity.

In order to support SEGway, the team is committed to spreading the word about this tremendous organization. Some of their fundraisers range from t-shirt sales to an annual jersey auction held throughout the regular season. The hope is to connect the current team with the girls in other countries who are benefiting from their work here at Notre Dame.


Watch Lindsay’s What Would You Fight For ad:

Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame Baseball

For several years, Notre Dame Baseball has been dedicated to raising awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Degeneration and eventual death of motor neurons prohibits the brain from initiating and controlling muscle movement. For many patients, this leads to losing the ability to speak, to eat, to move, and to breathe. There is still no cure for ALS.

Notre Dame’s baseball team has partnered with the Pete Frates #3 Fund. Pete, a former player of Coach Mik Aoki at Boston College, is only 30 years old and has ALS. Last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge was co-founded by Pete and became a viral sensation across the globe.

This month alone, the baseball team hosted two fundraisers for Pete – a Strikeout ALS game against Northwestern State and Pints for Pete at Brother’s Bar and Grill at Eddy Street Commons. Both events were a huge success.

Last year, Pete attended the Notre Dame vs. Boston College Strikeout ALS game. Meet Pete and learn more about his relationship with Notre Dame.

Thank you Notre Dame Baseball for your dedication to raising awareness for ALS!

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