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Oct. 19, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion track and field/cross country programs recently participated in an international goodwill project, sending shoes and athletic gear to aspiring athletes in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo. The project was spearheaded by Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan and 2011 women's team captain and current senior athlete Anna Muzio (Harrisburg, Pa.), as part of her participation in Penn State's Athletic Director's Leadership Institute.
"It has been such a great experience working with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Brazzaville, and Special Agent Daley O'Neil in pulling this project together," said Sullivan. "Anna's work on the project and the efforts from her teammates shows the commitment to community service and goodwill from the Penn State track and field program. I look forward to efforts in continuing the project in the future."
The Nittany Lion programs rallied to collect nearly 50 pairs of new or lightly-used shoes and gear during the 2011 spring semester, eventually mailing the donation over the summer. The shipment was then handed off to U.S. State Department employees Daley O'Neil, William Ferrari (Penn State, `99), Distel Kandza and Morgan O'Brien, who presented the donation to the athletes of the Congolese Track Federation during a ceremony on October 16. The presentation also included Congo's three-time Olympian, Leontine Tsiba, now an American citizen.
"Sports are an international language and track athletes are the world's largest fraternity," said O'Neil, a former track athlete at Miami. "And donations like this go a long way to ensuring that Congo's athletes have the opportunity to learn the valuable lessons from training and competition like their Penn State counterparts."
"I was very excited to see the large turnout of shoes and gear as well as the overwhelming support from the team," said Muzio. "It's so exciting to participate in a drive that spreads Nittany Lion pride on the global level. I hope to expand our efforts and involve more students this year."
This is the second year the Nittany Lion programs have participated in sending donations to Congo.