Sophomore Ethan Cox, a right wing on the men’s hockey team, can still remember his very first volunteering experience. He helped prepare food at the St. Alban’s Church soup kitchen in his hometown of Richmond, British Columbia.
“I hung out and interacted with the people there,” Cox said. “Week in and week out a lot of the same people showed up, so I was able to make some connections with them. I still see them sometimes when I go home.”
Cox no longer volunteers with the kitchen, but as a member of the men’s hockey team, he is in a unique position to participate in other charitable acts. Under his leadership, the team has raised more than $10,000 in cash and donated items to local and national charities. Earlier this season, Cox coordinated a food drive that brought in 350 pounds of food for the Hamilton Food Cupboard. Additionally, for the second straight year, he organized a toy drive to benefit needy families in Madison County.
Last year, Cox captained a Colgate’s Multiple Sclerosis Walk team that raised more than $5,700 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society on the behalf of recent graduate and teammate, Mike Campaner ’07, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a senior. Cox also coordinated the Make-A-Wish Weekend last season, in which the Raiders collected $750 in cash donations for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in honor of eight-year-old Colgate Raiders fan and cancer patient, Miranda Hadlock. The team later donated an additional $2,400 in proceeds from the sale of its third jerseys to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“We got an incredible response,” Cox remarked about that latter endeavor. Although Cox feels that no program is necessarily more important than another, the MS Walk and the Make-A-Wish experiences hit him “closer to home” because of his personal contact with Campaner and Hadlock.
Cox also regularly volunteers with local hockey programs, where he assistant coaches and teaches kids about the importance of balancing academics and athletics. Next weekend, the men’s hockey team will participate in Facing Off Against Cancer, which Cox spearheaded by spending countless hours researching Colgate face-off statistics and gathering sponsors.Nearly 20 local businesses have pledged to donate $1 per Raider face-off win to the Coaches vs. Cancer foundation.
For his valiant and tireless efforts, Cox is one of eight finalists chosen from 22 men’s and women’s Division I and III hockey players who are nominated for the 2008 Hockey Humanitarian Award. Each year, this prestigious recognition is given to college hockey’s finest and most charitable citizen. He is the youngest player nominated this year and the only male Division I player among the finalists. Cox is also the first Colgate student-athlete to ever be named as a finalist for the award. Furthermore, Cox was one of two first-years to be named a George W. Cobb fellow for the 2006-07 school year. This honor is given to students who exhibit high leadership qualities, great influence among their peers and strong moral character.
“To be recognized is nice,” he said, “but no one does it for the recognition.” The success of the programs and the ability to affect change are what he values most. “If I win, it’ll be icing on the cake.”
Cox also credits his teammates for how successful each of his charity efforts has been.
“They support anything I bring up or the coaches bring up,” he said. “I have other friends that help out too. They, just as much, should be up for this award.”
When asked what his inspiration for giving back is, Cox did not hesitate to answer.
“My parents,” Cox said. “Care and commitment to community is a trait that they instilled in me at an early age. Both of them are [guidance] counselors, so they do a lot of their volunteer or humanitarian kind of work through school-based programs or after-school programs. My dad coaches different athletic teams at the high school he works at too.”
Ethan’s grandparents were also active in his community, participating in or starting sports and awareness programs, including the Hip Hip Hooray program inspired by his grandmother’s hip replacement surgery.Cox also believes that he is following in his brother’s footsteps.
“We both volunteered at the same places during high school, so the two of us built a connection with certain foundations back home,” the sophomore replied.
Regarding the short-term future of his charitable endeavors, Cox wants to make each annual event bigger and better than they were the year before. He believes that more and more people are recognizing that the Raiders are committed to doing these events in order to give back to the community. Cox will try and organize the team’s participation in the MS Walk again in a few months and possibly put together another event or two before the end of the semester.
“Honestly, these events are fairly simple to put together and do not take too much time, yet the effect they have is tremendous,” he noted, which is why he has no qualms with trying to fit in as many programs as possible each year.”That you can throw a quick event together like the Walk and have this much impact speaks wonders for humanitarian work.”
More long term, Ethan is undecided career-wise, but he did mention that he has a general idea of where he is going.
“Regardless of what I’m doing, I’ll always, in one way or another, be trying to help out the individuals or groups who are less fortunate than I am,” Cox noted. “I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could give back as much as they received in their lifetime. I have been absolutely blessed with the opportunity to come to Colgate and be given the chances that I have been given. No matter where I am in my life, I think it’s definitely a goal of mine to try to give someone the same opportunity that I have had.”
The Maroon-News commends Ethan on his wonderful efforts and Hockey Humanitarian Award nomination, which cannot compare to the gratitude felt by those he has touched through his charitable efforts. We wish him the best of luck with the nomination and the rest of the hockey season.