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Carson Dunn is nominated for spot on Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

Photo by Jeff Li.
Photo by Jeff Li.

This summer, football receiver and team captain Carson Dunn ’18 was nominated for the prestigious Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes outstanding community service and leadership for college football players. Dunn was selected from thousands of proposed students to be one of fewer than 150 students nationwide acknowledged for exhibiting teamwork and altruism both on their teams and in their communities.

“It’s about taking initiative outside of football to improve the social atmosphere or a certain part of campus life, doing things off the field essentially,” Dunn said.

Dunn felt honored by the nomination, which he learned about rather coincidentally.

“I’ll be honest, I found out about it through Twitter that I was nominated, my friend sent me this tweet that I was nominated,” Dunn said.

Although the nomination was surprising to Dunn, it was well-deserved. Dunn’s involvement in the College and community at large shows his dedication to improving the lives of others and setting a good example for peers. One of his many extracurricular and non-athletic activities is working with Student-Athletes Leading Social Change (SALSC) on sexual assault prevention and awareness.

“I was a leader in the group SALSC in a semester-wide campaign to prevent sexual assault last fall, and then I went to the NCAA APPLE Institute. They bring together athletes from all divisions, all different sports, and we talked about different ways to improve our schools and I presented on my work with SALSC,” Dunn said.

Dunn plans to continue his work with SALSC this year, and he looks forward to determining what issues they will address.

“One of the big things we do is projects each semester on a topic we really get in to,” Dunn said. “I want to do another semester on sexual assault. It’s a pretty big problem on every campus and it’s important that people know that they’re supported and they know where they can get resources. It’s really important that people speak up and act out to prevent sexual assault.”

In addition, this past summer Dunn dedicated his time to the Grinnell community by working with Davis Elementary School, further demonstrating his merit as a nominee even before he was aware of the recognition.

“I served for AmeriCorps this summer, I was a summer school teacher for kindergarten through third graders at Davis Elementary. The whole goal of the program was to bridge the word gap that gets created by economic inequality,” Dunn said.

Good Works Team nominees are required to be part of a community service organization, have good academic standing and are proposed by coaches and athletic directors.

Dunn and the other nominees will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including previous Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member Tim Tebow. In September the panel will announce the 22 winners, and Dunn hopes to be standing among them.

“I’d be stoked for it, it’s pretty prestigious. I would call my parents and tell them probably,” Dunn said.

Throughout his time in school and sports, Dunn has been inspired to do service by his coaches, and he credits them for encouraging him to do the work that has led to this nomination. In particular, Dunn remembers one previous teacher and coach who inspired his volunteering.

“I had a high school teacher my sophomore year who was my basketball coach. Aside from people who are related to me, he’s probably my biggest role model,” Dunn said.

This teacher also helped to develop Dunn’s aspirations, which includes teaching and coaching young athletes.

“I want to be a teacher. Past college I’m trying to do Teach for America to try to do my part and get another teacher in a low-income area,” Dunn said. “The dream for me is to teach 8th grade math and then be a high school varsity football coach.”

The support Dunn has received from great teachers and coaches has encouraged him to continue similar work with future student-athletes. This nomination is indicative of his success in this pursuit, and Dunn is looking forward to his further work with the Grinnell community.

“I’ve got a year left!”

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