(Photo: Courtesy / Hillsdale Collegian)

When Hillsdale College athletes leave hotels on road trips, they make sure not to leave any of the travel-sized toiletries in their rooms. This isn’t a budgeting technique created by college students to save a few bucks, it’s a part of one of the athletic department’s revived service initiatives.

In conjunction with the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, or SAAC, and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, Hillsdale is taking part in the Athletes Collecting Toiletries program, which encourages collegiate athletes to gather their unused complimentary toiletries at the end of road trips, so that they can be passed on to those in need of them.

Senior Dugan Delp, student president of Hillsdale SAAC, said it’s a nice way to make an impact, without having to ask fellow students for monetary donations.

“At Hillsdale and a lot of the other schools in the G-MAC, athletes are also involved in greek life and other organizations which do a lot of philanthropy work and fundraising,” he said. “Because of this, it can be hard to dig into the students pockets again.”

Delp said each team has a collection box in their respective locker room, and at the end of the year they will send the toiletries to Over the Rhine Living Waters Church, in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will then pass them on to those in need.

“It’s really cool, because they are a really good Christian organization and they stand for really great things,” Delp said. “They’ve grown really well, and they’re all about, for instance, taking in homeless adults and teaching them the skills to be independent. One of their pillars is the dignity of the human person…and these little toiletries really help to cut their cost.”

According to head women’s tennis coach and SAAC advisor Nicole Walbright, the initiative comes as part of the G-MAC’s grander push toward community service.

“I think it is a great concept,” she said. “The conference does an excellent job to promote doing work outside of athletics. Most all SAAC groups do work to increase volunteering, support local charities, and enhance the student-athletes’ well-being in avenues other than sport alone.”

Although Walbright said most teams don’t have travel-heavy schedules in the fall, she expects the various teams will collect a substantial amount of personal-care products.

Delp said SAAC representatives on each team are in charge of reminding their teammates to grab their extra items before they leave. He added that knowing where the products are going helps encourage players to take the small extra step.

“It’s not hard to just grab those extra things and bring them into the van,” he said. “Plus when people know about Over the Rhine, and how impactful they are…they are more compelled to actually do it.”