According to athletic director Patricia Nicol and players and coaches from the department, there’s an increased effort to be more active stakeholders within the Emerson community. In addition to the Lion athletes’ pixelated logo, there’s evidence of a meaningful effort to support all Emerson students — not just those who shoot hoops or bump, set, spike. It’s incumbent upon all of us to match this effort.
As an institution trying to diversify its image, an athletic department with robust student support would provide an alternative for students. Between high-stress deadlines and long film shoots, a trip to the gym or Rotch field is an activity that doesn’t involve alcohol or another addition to a to-do list.
Investing more time and effort into the athletics program is fruitful especially because those resources would in turn help the entire school. Sports are unique in that a dollar toward the field also means a dollar toward the student body. Sporting events are one of the very few things that have the capability of uniting people of all social groups.
Time and time again, students express concern about the fractured division between majors, a culture in which a marketing communication wiz, film kid, and student journalist rarely intermingle outside of an Allston basement. Cheering on our basketball team or rocking the same vintage soccer jersey can have effects that reverberate beyond the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker gym. This kind of community dedication is exactly what our school’s notoriously niche disciplines could use.
Through NCAA rules, no Division III student athletes can receive scholarships solely for playing sports, but that doesn’t mean tuition dollars aren’t going towards the upkeep of the department’s wins and losses. A lot of the financial commitment of being an athlete here is footed by the student themselves, with the student body’s tuition dollars still paying for the salary of coaches and staff, for uniforms, and other costs. Going to games at Emerson is completely free (unlike many other schools in the area), and it’s one more way to make good on a cost Emerson’s high price tag is already fronting.
Our school’s athletics have the potential to strengthen Emerson’s connection to the Boston community. It’s unsettling to lack an affinity to the place you call home. Many of us can and have acknowledged an “Emerson Bubble,” an expression tossed around to describe a lack of engagement with the greater community in which we live, despite being located at the city’s core. College sporting events burst this bubble. Games bring locals to our campus and lend a space where students from diverse backgrounds can join Boston residents cheering on the Lions. From the sidelines and in the stands, students and residents have the opportunity to become connected. This visibility of the college and the invitation into Emerson’s campus is especially important for youth in the Boston area. For local students, from kindergarteners just learning to read to high school seniors contemplating higher education, there’s immeasurable value for young minds in finding role models and envisioning a future that includes college, perhaps Emerson College.