The event is a culmination of a year-long correspondence between the class of 22 seventh graders and their pen pals at Seton Hall. Throughout the academic year, student-athletes from every Pirate team have spent time writing back and forth as a part of the pen pal program, even taking time to make classroom visits to St. Francis Xavier to drop off new messages.
"We start in the fall and correspond via letters every two weeks or so, and while it is great to connect through those letters, it is even better to meet them face to face," said Student Athlete Advisory Council President Brittany Hammer, a junior of the SHU softball team.
"Last year I got the chance to make a visit to a classroom with Brandon Park from the men's golf team and the kids just absolutely loved it," Hammer added. "We even picked up broomsticks and were teaching them how to swing a bat and a golf club and they really get a lot out of it and it is a lot of fun for us to go and visit them too."
Friday's trip to campus began with a tour of the university, then some games in the Richie Regan Athletic Center. The Pen Pals played kick ball with a group of student-athletes including baseball, softball and men's and women's soccer players, and then a game of knockout with the men's basketball team.
The fun-filled day also included a trip to the campus book store where the students were able to pick up some Seton Hall gear before being treated to a pizza lunch and a chance to connect even more with their pen pals by asking questions about Seton Hall and college life.
"It really is a lot of fun to show them around. We are really in our element and we get to give them advice and they ask a lot of questions," Hammer said. "They were very interested in what we do, how we manage our time even, and it is cool to show them around and play some games with them."
Hammer said that what makes the Pen Pal program and Pen Pal Day really unique, and it is something SHU student-athletes have participated in since 1994, is that it takes place throughout the year and provides the opportunity to make a personal connection.
"We start the program in October and continue all the way through April and it gives us a chance to stay involved in the community," Hammer said. "We are hearing how they are doing in school and they hear how we are doing on our teams so it keeps Seton Hall in the community during the entire school year."