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Diamond Dons Step Up to the Plate to ‘Strike Out Malaria’

02-16-2012
Motts2Web

Bob Mott ’12 stands next to a mosquito net at a Kenyan hospital, the same type of mosquito net that his "Strike Out Malaria" campaign hopes to raise funds for.

At the start of a new season, most baseball players are thinking about homeruns and increasing their batting averages. But University of San Francisco pitcher Bob Mott ’12 will kick off the 2012 season with an unusual goal for his team — 833 strikeouts. 

The goal is part of a campaign that business major Mott started last year to raise awareness and funds to purchase bed nets to help prevent malaria, one of the world’s most serious global health issues. Mott and fellow USF baseball teammates Cameron Love ’12, Nik Balog ’12, and Jared Denham ’12 created “Homeruns for Health” as part of a service-learning project for their Management and Organizational Dynamics class. For every homerun hit during the 2011 season, the USF baseball team donated one insecticide-treated net to Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign that purchases, transports, and delivers bed nets to families in malaria-risk areas of Africa.

Last year’s campaign was a success, and Mott expanded the initiative to include seven other teams in the West Coast Conference. After just five months, the USF baseball team was able to purchase 110 bed nets.

Now in its second year, Mott’s campaign has been renamed “Strike Out Malaria” because even for last year’s West Coast Conference champions, “there are more strikeouts than homeruns in baseball.” This time, every time a USF pitcher strikes out a batter from the other team, the baseball team will donate $3 to Nothing But Nets. At $10 per net, the Dons will be able to purchase a bed every three to four strikeouts. Mott is hoping to more than double last year’s total and has set the team’s goal at $2500, or approximately 833 strikeouts and 250 malaria nets.

The USF Dons are hoping that “Strike Out Malaria” will translate into increased awareness and donations to help eradicate malaria, a preventable disease that kills nearly one million a year.

Draped over beds, insecticide-treated nets are an effective way to stop the spread of malaria, protecting people from malaria-carrying mosquitos while they sleep and preventing the mosquitos from flying on and infecting others. Widespread use of malaria nets can curb the spread of the disease by up to 90 percent. 

“I’ve traveled to Africa several times and have seen how important the nets are to families,” Mott said. “I hope our efforts with “Strike Out Malaria” will increase awareness of this disease among the USF community and beyond. Doing our part and donating these nets is a small but powerful way to change the world from here.”

USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., named Mott the university’s 2011-12 Spirit of St. Francis Medalist. The award is given to a graduating student who embodies St. Francis of Assisi’s ideal of service to the poor.

Written by Monica Villavicencio »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews