Ryan Santoso, a football player at the University of Minnesota (UMN), has been nominated for the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy, an award given annually to the college football player “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.” This nomination recognizes Santoso for his years of community service as well as his academic and athletic record.
While at UMN, Santoso has volunteered at the Children’s Hospital, Luxton Learning Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and alongside various sports camps. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nonprofit management.
“I grew up in a family that was always teaching about the importance of relationships with others,” said Santoso. “As I have moved far away from home, I have been able to make those family core values my own and build on them, applied them to my life passions and goals.”
Santoso explained that his arrival at UMN in 2013 opened his eyes to more than just himself. Over the years, he has developed “a passion for life rooted in Christ and love” and vowed to commit himself to be the best he can be and to push others to do the same.
He has supported many causes over the years, but particularly likes volunteering at the Children’s Hospital.
“I want to inspire, love, and work alongside the kids who are battling daily with things I have never experienced,” he said. “It is a matter of taking their minds away from their circumstances and giving them an opportunity to just be a kid.”
Santoso’s inspiration has come largely from his parents, whom he describes as “committed to helping others within their community and careers,” and from the “butterfly effect” of kindness.
“My inspiration to help others is the ability for my efforts to be a chain reaction for others to continue the generosity,” he said.
One simple act of kindness can generate a large movement of positive change.
Santoso also gives credit to the culture of service within UMN’s football program for his inspiration.
Santoso finds the Wuerffel nomination to be a humbling honor, but winning the trophy itself is not important to him. He will continue to be actively engaged in helping others whether he has an official award or not, and he will live according to a message of love and positivity.
“My goal is to live a pure and full life, a life worth living,” Santoso said. “I want to be the best person I can be, while bringing others along for the ride. Through researching the man Danny Wuerffel is, and the previous winners of this trophy, it is an honor to be mentioned alongside true men of character within college football and the community. The platform for love will only grow more as people see the men who are nominated for this trophy. Love will change this world, and this is just another step toward that change. It is not about the trophy, and it will never be about the trophy for me.”
Natalie Colarossi is a journalism major and global studies minor working toward her bachelor’s degree at Ohio University. She is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has covered a number of topics including art, culture, politics, music, and travel. Her greatest passion and priority is to travel, and she hopes to experience as many places and cultures as possible.