Women’s basketball senior forward Alyssa Lang logged heavy minutes for the Owls this season, playing 26 minutes per game and averaging 5.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. What she did off the court, though, was arguably more impressive. Throughout her time at Rice, Lang has been heavily involved in different philanthropic endeavours. Last week, Lang was honored with the Conference USA Spirit of Service Award for her work with numerous nonprofit organizations. According to Lang, the award was a surprise.

“I was not expecting to receive an award,” Lang said. “Honestly I’m just trying to love as many people as possible [through service].”

The Spirit of Service Award was presented to 14 C-USA student-athletes for the winter season. The conference presents the award three times per year to 10 to 15 student-athletes.

During her time at Rice, Lang has done work with CAN Do Houston, an organization aiming to reduce childhood obesity; the Nehemiah Center, a Christian organization that spreads Christianity to children; and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, a local church in Houston. She has also gone on two service trips to Haiti with Open Hands 4 the Fatherless, a nonprofit that sponsors an orphanage, school, clinic and church for orphaned children in Haiti. Lang said that these experiences have been vital to her college experience.

“I’ve had to prioritize what I feel is important to me and service is absolutely one of those things,” Lang said. “It’s tough sometimes as an athlete but it’s something I know I want to do.”

Now that she is a senior, her basketball career has ended but Lang is hopeful she has left an impact. She said that this year has been the best year of her time at Rice.

“It’s hard for me to believe that I’m done,” Lang said. “I have enjoyed this year the most of any year at Rice. We have a new coach this year, Coach Langley. She’s changing the culture of basketball here at Rice and I’m really excited to be a part of the foundation of it.”

In her final year at Rice, Lang helped the team advance to the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament. Next season, the team will look to improve upon that finish without her.