BEAUMONT, Texas – At Lamar University, student-athletes take pride in giving back to the community not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. “The LU students really got the campus looking fantastic,” a Buckner official said. “Your students are pretty amazing.” LU softball player Kelly Meeuwsen, who serves as president of LU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, continues to increase its involvement in the Golden Triangle. The work will go one long after the presents are unwrapped and the decorations put away. As part of the “Southland Gives Back” initiative, the Southland Conference will profile a community service outing from each of our 13 member institutions each weekday from Dec. 6 to 22. Once things got back to normal on the LU campus, the Cardinals turned their sights toward the holidays, starting with the events at Buckner International’s Beaumont campus. LU student-athletes helped decorate Buckner’s buildings, helping to brighten the holidays for the foster children and those transitioning from foster care to independent living. Lamar University athletics has partnered with Buckner for many years to make the holiday better for its residents. Home basketball games in November saw the Cardinals collect non-perishable foods for the Food Bank of Southeast Texas. In October, the LU softball team raised funds for the American Cancer Society at its annual Strike Out Cancer game against Lamar State College-Port Arthur. The Cardinals didn’t stop there. Next up was the Arc of Beaumont’s winter formal, which is for adults 16 and older with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The LU student-athletes helped in whatever way was needed, from serving food and clearing the tables to dancing with the Arc members. “It’s important for our student-athletes to have a positive college experience, and community service feeds into that,” said LU academic specialist Tori Cummings, who helps oversee the community-service projects. “They can use their talents in different ways and build relationships that really benefit themselves, Lamar University, and the Beaumont community. The more student-athletes connect with people outside athletics, the better prepared they are to make meaningful contributions to society during and after their time at Lamar University.” All year long the Cardinals are collecting tabs from soda cans to help support Ronald McDonald house. The semester barely got started before student-athletes from almost every LU team were pitching in various ways to help with the recovery efforts to help those affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.