Zachary Ciullo Athlete_ Philanthropist

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					                                      S T U D E N TS

                                      THE BIG FOOTBALL
                                      PLAYER WITH AN
                                      EVEN BIGGER HEART
                                      MOTIVATES HIS TEAM-
                                      MATES TO GIVE BACK
                                      by Sheryl James

                                      ZACHARY CIULLO spends a lot of his time asking oth-
Scott Soderberg, U-M Photo Services

                                      ers for help — for donations, time, and participation
                                      in fundraisers. At first glance, you might think folks
                                      would fear refusing him. Standing six-foot-one and
                                      weighing 270 pounds, Ciullo can look intimidating.
                                        But no one who knows Ciullo could fear him,
                                      and even strangers notice his smile or hear his soft-
                                      spoken fundraising pitch more immediately than
                                      his bulk. Sure, he plays left guard for U-M’s football

                                                                         fall 2010 LSA n 47
                               S T U D E N TS

                              team and can bench press small automobiles. These        featuring U-M athletes doing a variety of mostly
                              things his opponents on the football field might heed.   funny skits, dances, and the like. The event raises
                                 And, sure, he’s a bouncer at Rick’s American          money for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and

                              Café, where, with adroit strength, he dispenses with     other charities. Ciullo was a major organizer of
                              rowdy folk.                                                                       his team for the event in
                                 But for some time now,                                                         2010 — and he had a lot of
                              Ciullo, an LSA senior, has           Football is like a                           fun, too.

                                                                    separate family.
                              had a reputation as a big                                                           “The football team’s skits
                              man with an even bigger                                                           have been notoriously bad
                              mission: philanthropy.
                                 “It means a lot,” Ciullo     It’s kind of like a                               for many years. So one of
                                                                                                                the coach’s wives is a chore-
                              says. “I feel it’s important to
                              give back.” Football, he says,
                                                                  fraternity, only                              ographer. She came in like
                                                                                                                a drill sergeant, got us into
                              “is like a separate family.         closer. But it’s                              shape, got us doing a dance

                                                              given me great
                              It’s kind of like a fraternity,                                                   that was actually really
                              only closer. But it’s given                                                       good. We were doing flips,
                              me great opportunities and
                              it’s opened a lot of doors for       opportunities                                more athletic things. We
                                                                                                                came in fourth.”
                                                                 and it’s opened a                                Mock Rock is just

                                 Ciullo is a member of the                                                      one beneficiary of Ci-
                              Student-Athlete Advisory        lot of doors for                                  ullo’s efforts. A member of

                              Council, which sponsors,                                                          Student-Athletes Leading
                              among other events, the                                                           Social Change, he raised so
                              popular Mock Rock, a show                                                         much money for a trip to
                                                                                       Kenya, he was invited to participate in the project
(Top) Zac Ciullo and his                                                               there — to build a school — last summer.
football teammates par-                                                                  In 2010, Ciullo was co-captain, along with Nick
ticipate in Mock Rock, an                                                              Koenigsknecht, for the football team’s first Relay
annual athlete talent show
that supports C.S. Mott                                                                for Life team. “That was a challenge,” he says. “It’s
Children’s Hospital.                                                                   hard to organize a bunch of kids to come to this
(Bottom) As a member of                                                                event and stay all day. We fundraised, organized.
Student-Athletes Leading                                                               We signed people up at training tables, sent emails
Social Change, Ciullo
helped raise so much
                                                                                       to thousands of alumni. We raised somewhere
money to build a school in                                                             around $7,000.” Next year, he will be captain for
Kenya that he was invited                                                              the event again.
there to participate in the
project. Here, he poses
                                                                                         Ciullo’s academic and athletic performances don’t
with kids who will directly                                                            suffer. He carries a 3.57 GPA, is in LSA’s Honors
benefit from his efforts.                                                              Program, and has won the Michigan Athlete/
                                                                                       Scholar award three times. A psychology major, he
                                                                                       plans to write his thesis on the effects of exercise on
                                                                                       mood and mental health. He hopes to attend law
                                                                                       school after graduating.
                                                                                         Meanwhile, he has been “Weight Room War-
                                                                                       rior” six times for outstanding effort in U-M’s
                                                                                                                                                 Courtesy of Zac Ciullo

                                                                                       weight room.
                                                                                         The only down side to all of this? “This is my last
                                                                                       year. I’m really going to miss all of this.” n

48 n LSA fall 2010