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The Power of School Spirit

People often ask me, “What is school spirit like on your campus?” or “Do you feel supported by the athletic community?” My answer always consists of examples of our athletic family. Although our athletic and campus community is smaller than some larger programs, I still feel an overwhelming amount of support.

Because we have established an athletic family here at Rochester, our campus is very much in-tuned to how our teams are doing, when the next game is, or who scored in last night’s match.  Furthermore, the Varsity Student Athletic Advisory Committee (VSAAC), comprised of our strongest athletic leaders on campus, has done a lot to reach out to our University and greater Rochester community.

Last month, VSAAC organized “Athlete Ally Week” to raise awareness and promote inclusion of gay, lesbian,  bisexual, and transgender individuals in the athletic community.  They brought the founder, Hudson Taylor, to campus to discuss why he started this organization and how we could promote inclusion with our group. All of us wore “Ally” stickers to show our support. At our varsity volleyball’s senior game, we signed a petition to support the cause, vowing to uphold strong values within our respective teams and on our campus. This month, VSAAC is sponsoring a date action, open to the entire campus community to raise money so that the athletic community can sponsor more campus-wide events. Athletes will be “auctioned off” to the highest bidder and the pair is given a gift card for a local restaurant.

My good friend and co-captain Bridget Lang is an active member of the community service committee on VSAAC and  told me more about service opportunities that VSAAC offers. “I have been working with the Nathaniel Rochester School 3 and their after-school program to get athletes involved in volunteering there. Athletes have been going to the school on Fridays for three hours to mentor the kids. The after-school program involves life skills training, homework help, and athletic activities.”  Being involved in events like Athlete Ally Week and Rochester community service opportunities reminds me of  how proud I am to be a University of Rochester Yellowjacket.  Our school spirit and commitment to athletics has the power to truly make a difference both on campus and in the city of Rochester.

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