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BU Participates In America East’s S.T.A.R.S Sportsmanship Initiative
Binghamton student-athletes discuss sportsmanship with local youths
January 31, 2012
Contact: Terrence Lollie (email@example.com)
VESTAL, N.Y. – Prior to the men’s basketball game against New Hampshire this last weekend, 20 Binghamton student-athletes, in conjunction with the Student-Athlete Success Center and College For Every Student (CFES), held a sportsmanship seminar for area middle school students in accordance with the America East conference’s S.T.A.R.S (Student-Athletes Advancing Respect through Sports) initiative. The underlying belief behind the initiative is that good sportsmanship habits must be instilled in athletes at a young age.
About 15 students from the Binghamton City School District’s West Middle spent their Sunday afternoon learning about good sportsmanship and watching the men’s game versus the Wildcats, witnessing sportsmanship first-hand. During the seminar the students heard from assistant men’s basketball coach Ron Brown, made sportsmanship-themed signs for the game, were shown videos displaying proper sportsmanship and enjoyed a pizza party.
Through Binghamton’s Student-Athlete Success Center and its association with CFES, academic counselor and SAAC Coordinator, Linda Reynolds organized the sportsmanship presentation with assistance from members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
“BU Athletics’ annual S.T.A.R.S event continues to be a great opportunity for our student-athletes to engage one-on-one with students in the local community,” said Reynolds. “Good sportsmanship on the field and in life is something we as an athletic department continually talk to our student-athletes about and for them to be able to share that same message with younger kids is so important.”
Athletes from the men’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, softball, women’s tennis, track and field and volleyball teams took part in the day of festivities helping the youngsters understand what it means to be a “good sport.”
“Each year more and more Binghamton student-athletes have chosen to participate in this program and that means they are seeing the value in what they are doing,” Reynolds continued. “The afternoon is as much about reinforcing the importance of good sportsmanship in all facets of life, as it is about providing a forum for our student-athletes to mentor local students. It’s exciting to see our student-athletes take pride in being a collegiate athlete and share their personal experiences.”
Assistant men’s basketball coach Ron Brown, a native of the Bronx, ascended to play college basketball at Division III John Jay College and went on to have a successful coaching career. In front of almost 40 onlookers he discussed the advantages of displaying good sportsmanship.
“It’s always a great opportunity to speak to young men and women and share some of my experiences,” said Brown. “Discussing sportsmanship with our youth is important so that they are better citizens on and off the playing surface. I let the kids know ‘don’t let your circumstances keep you from succeeding, succeed despite of your circumstances’ and I hope they remember that and take something positive away from today.”
College For Every Student, a program Binghamton student-athletes have been associated with the past two years through the Student-Athlete Success Center, is a non-profit mentoring program designed to help raise the academic performance and educational aspirations of underserved youth so that they can prepare for, gain access to and succeed in college.
Leading the development of the CFES program at West Middle are guidance counselors Barb McManus and Ami Wiswell. The duo has been integral to the advancement of CFES at West, organizing several opportunities for their students to engage in the college experience.
“The kids were very excited about coming today and it was a great chance to see the college and learn about sportsmanship and just be around the student-athletes,” said McManus. “Today has been a tremendously positive experience for all the students involved.”
For some of the middle school students it was the first time on a college campus. “I thought it was great because several of our students have never been to a college athletic event before so this was an awesome opportunity for them,” said Wiswell. “Today also gave them a chance to see a college campus for the first time and begin to think about going to college themselves.”
The America East debuted the S.T.A.R.S. Sportsmanship Initiative in the fall of 2009. During Sportsmanship Month, all nine America East institutions held S.T.A.R.S. sportsmanship initiatives on campus. Each S.T.A.R.S. event gave America East student-athletes a chance to interact with youth athletes and assist in developing their sense of sportsmanship, with each of the schools creating its own unique set of activities to teach the youth athletes the meaning of good sportsmanship.