As a young girl, Olivia DiCarlantonio would wait for her uncle to return from his business trips to bring her the complimentary toiletries from the hotel rooms in which he had stayed. Whatever he gave to her, she would donate to local homeless shelters.
A lot has changed for DiCarlantonio, now an Ohio State lacrosse player and fourth-year in public health, but one thing has remained constant: She is still collecting toiletries and giving back.
DiCarlantonio started The Little Things this past September. The service allows student-athletes to donate complimentary toiletries collected on away trips to the Van Buren Center, a homeless shelter based in Columbus.
“There’s close to 1,500 student-athletes at this university, so getting them involved in this service is powerful,” DiCarlantonio said. “It’s cool to have people back home know we are thinking about them on game day.”
DiCarlantonio said it was important to leave her legacy at OSU, but in something other than her sport.
“I realized that women’s lacrosse isn’t necessarily a ‘football sport’ where I could just leave my mark by winning the Heisman (Trophy),” DiCarlantonio said. “I wanted to do something that other lacrosse players and the Buckeye family can remember me by years down the road.”
There are donation boxes all across campus, but mostly in buildings that athletes frequently visit, such as the Student-Athlete Support Services Office, the Younkin Success Center, the Fawcett Center, the French Field House and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“I wanted to make it as easy as possible for athletes to be able to donate,” DiCarlantonio said. “All we have to do is put the toiletries in the boxes on our way out to practice or when we get back from an away trip.”
Andrea Kacsits, a senior middle blocker on the volleyball team, said The Little Things allows student-athletes to take something most people overlook and turn it into something helpful and impactful.
“It teaches us that nothing is ever small,” Kacsits said. “The things we see as small have an impact much bigger than their stature, even if it’s not blatantly obvious.”
The university has been an integral part in the service’s success.
“I thought this would be a simple project, but nothing with Ohio State is ever small as they’ve gone above and beyond already,” DiCarlantonio said. “They’ve connected me with creative services and graphic design, as well as helped me to create logos and fliers for The Little Things.”
DiCarlantonio, who encouraged students and faculty to contribute by donating toiletries at any of the box locations, said she is happy with the service’s progress, but she also is excited to see how its impact can continue to develop.
“I already have two huge boxes of donations, and I’m not stopping anytime soon,” she said. “I would love to get this program started at other universities and share my process; why stop here?”