AMHERST, Mass. – As part of their continual commitment to community engagement, the Amherst College Department of Athletics and the Amherst College squash program recently played host to the 14th annual, three-day National Urban Squash + Education Association (NUSEA) Urban Individual Nationals at the Davenport Squash Courts.
More than 400 urban squash students from 16 member programs attended the Nationals, including students from as close as Capitol Squash in Hartford, Conn. and as far as Squash Urbano in Cartagena, Columbia. First played at the Groton School in 2003, the Urban Individual Nationals brings players together to compete in individual tournament play in four age divisions on the campuses of Amherst College and Williams College.
Joining archrival Williams as co-hosts of the tournament in 2014, Amherst welcomes students to campus not only to compete on the court, but to also sleep in the dormitories, eat in the dining hall, take campus tours, and meet with representatives of various boarding schools and colleges. Additionally, Assistant Athletics Director for Diversity & Inclusion Billy McBride, Mount Holyoke head squash coach Erin Kinsella Robson '90 and Amherst head men's and women's squash coach Peter Robson spearhead a Q&A session for staff and rising high school juniors and seniors.
In regard to the panel and the program, "it's about embracing opportunities they won't normally have," commented McBride.
With many Amherst squash alumni on the boards of urban squash programs around the U.S. and India, 38 Amherst donors (and counting!) helped raise more than $17,500 for NUSEA to assist in defraying the cost of the event – beating out Williams' 25 donors in a friendly competition to see who could raise the most money to support NUSEA.
"Amherst squash alums are incredibly generous and supportive of this event and NUSEA," said Robson. "Four of our squash alums who are trustees support the event each year, and Chairman of the Board Cullen Murphy '74 even supported the event in person, coming straight from a business trip in London, England."
A youth development model that combines the sport of squash with academics, mentoring, community service, and college placement for public school elementary through high school students in under-served communities, NUSEA is a the umbrella organization for 22 urban squash and education programs that enroll 1,800 students across the U.S. and 200 students across their four international affiliates.
With the goal of promoting learning, health, integrity, and the pursuit of excellence, 98% of NUSEA urban squash students who stay in their programs have gone to graduate from high school and enroll in post-secondary schools and 23% have earned the right to play college squash.
Learn more about the the National Urban Squash + Education Association here.