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More Than Just An Athlete 

SUNY Brockport’s field hockey team embracing one another. (Photo Credit: Leah Bisgrove)

Games and records may hit SUNY Brockport headlines the most, but these three programs offered by the athletics department show the many sides that make up a student athlete.   

Student Athletes For Equity (SAFE) is a program that was started following the death of George Floyd.  

SUNY Brockport women’s basketball team head coach Corinne Jones took initiative starting up the program. 

“It didn’t have a name or overall mission at that point. We just needed a space to talk about equity, inclusion and diversity,” Jones said.  

At the time, SAFE’s primary focus was getting different sports teams involved. There was an emphasis placed on coaches to understand the importance of the conversations that needed to be had. The idea was that once coaches were on board, athletes would follow.  

Now that COVID-19 has proved to slow down, keeping members engaged proved to be difficult. 

“There are not as many people. It lost that initial feeling of ‘we have to do something’ and keep doing something for a long time while not losing that energy just because it’s not as current. Two years ago, there was this big push for diversity, equity, inclusion and events happening. Now, two years removed, people forgot,” Jones said.  

Another student-athlete driven organization on campus is the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). 

SUNYAC SAAC president and advisor Brianna Lawless has been able to aid in the positive changes on campus. 

“In the retreats that are held, we share our ideas on the community service events we hold on each of our campuses. We express where we may be struggling and need improvement. I also work with the SUNYAC eboard to choose initiatives such as shattering the stigma around mental health,” Lawless said.  

The information shared at these meetings allows athletes to be heard and have a voice in their collegiate experience.  

“Within this committee, students are able to provide insight on the student athlete experience, advocate for themselves, provide input on the rules, regulations and policies that are going on within their campuses or within the NCAA,” Lawless said.  

Brockport offers the Hazen Counseling Center and other mental health resources on the Brockport Athletics website. Unfortunately, not many student athletes are aware of this page. 

SUNY Brockport sophomore Zoe Zutes recognizes the importance of mental health and advocates for positive mental health for all athletes.  

“I had no idea about it,” Zutes said. “I think as athletes, we get so wrapped up in the athletics portion of being a student athlete that sometimes we forget we are human beings before any of this. Athletes hold themselves to a certain standard, which at times is higher than a regular student. They forget about themselves.”  

Across the board, these three programs work to make the student athlete experience positive. While these students represent Brockport, they are more than just Golden Eagles when the uniform comes off. 

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Shannon Blankenship, Editor-in-Chief
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