The fourth semester of the Breaking Down Barriers semester-long team activity came to a close on Tuesday, December 5th for women’s lacrosse, men’s hockey and softball. Presentations were held in Powerhouse for those teams and coaches to present what they accomplished as a group during the fall 2017 semester.
Breaking down barriers is an endeavor designed for teams to identify all of the many activities, volunteer opportunities and community events that they participate in off the field/court/ice. Breaking down barriers challenges teams to get outside of their comfort zones, meet new people on campus and ultimately shed light on what it means to be a student-athlete in the community and on campus.
The softball team presented first highlighting the many activities they were able to participate in as a team and as individuals as well as some of the many groups and clubs they have been a part of for some time now. Some examples of events and activities discussed by the group were; supporting other teams at home contests, lunches and thesis presentations as well as talks held on campus such as the Digital Africas Symposium, the Hugh Hawkins Lecture and Anicka Yi. Some social events softball took part in were the One Love Training, “I Belong” Talks, Farm Fest and Athletes and Allies.
Men’s hockey presented second and went over some of the goals that they wanted to meet with this activity such as; participate in community service, meet new people in the community and get involved in activities on campus that they don’t usually. A couple highlights from their presentation were being actively involved in the Special Olympics on campus, meeting new people, attending a swim meet, and participating in a “Walk to End Alzheimers” as a team.
Women’s lacrosse wrapped up the evening with their presentation featuring their involvement with youth lacrosse players, their support for fellow student-athletes, the importance of women in STEM, being active in intramurals and games on campus, volunteering for Love Your Melon and Team Impact and a slew of other events on and off campus.
Many of the learning experiences and takeaways from groups focused on the importance of being a well-rounded individual and while being an athlete and a leader on a team is important, student-athletes at Amherst College are much more than a representation of their sport and they are active in so many things on and off campus. The teams who presented learned the importance of building bridges, stepping outside of your comfort zone and being a support system for anyone in need.
Breaking down barriers is a beneficial activity in that it encompasses many important aspects to the collegiate experience, and makes students think about how much more they can do as individuals and teams to make an impact on campus and in their communities.