Center for Community Engagement

Making a Splash

What does it take to get a high-caliber athletic team excited about community events? Simple.

Just add water.

Hour of Power: Just Keep Swimming

The team has used their athletic ability to raise money for cancer research. For four years now, they have fundraised for the Ted Mullin “Hour of Power” event. Mullin was a Carleton College swimmer who lost his battle to sarcoma. The event raises awareness raises funds for cancer research. Over 100 teams participate in the one-hour challenge by swimming continuous hour-long relays in their pools.

In total, the NESCAC teams raised $4,200 this year, which expanded to $42,000 after a match by the University of Chicago. Rudel was “amazed by the enthusiasm and spirit of our team.” She describes witnessing the energy of the swimmers as truly “powerful.” 

Feed Your Body, Feed Your Mind

Swimmers have also focused on topics a little closer to home. After interacting with female athletes, Becca Thompson ’12 was “shocked by the amount of girls [she] saw struggling with body image – especially relating to health, body weight, and diet.” In response, Thompson decided to organize a nutrition panel that would “give women the opportunity to face their insecurities with the help of teammates and hear the stories of other influential athletes.” To prepare for the program, Thompson spoke to Denise McGoldrick, head of the Student Health Educators (SHEs) and interested captains to decide on discussion topics.

Thirty to forty female student-athletes attended the event. They shared stories about positive body-image role models, strategies for helping a friend, and overcoming personal insecurities. Thompson believes that these stories were important because they “really showed how many athletes face the same challenges, just in different uniforms.”

Amherst Elementary: Let’s Get Your Move On

On Sunday, April 3 from 1-4 p.m., the Amherst College gymnasium will throw open its doors and welcome local elementary students and their families to participate in a day of sports and games. This free community health day hopes to promote healthy and active lifestyles by encouraging families to exercise together.

Andrea Jensen ’11 first conceived the idea while research the growing overweight/obesity epidemic in the United States. Although the results she found were “incredibly depressing,” she resolved that the swim team could “encourage people to live healthy lifestyles.” Along with Susannah Rudel ’12, the two student-athletes have worked with the local Parent-Guardian Organizations to make a fitness day into a reality.

“Let’s Move Amherst Elementary” is designed to show families how they can “get creative” about health without needing fancy equipment or a gym membership. The day will feature aerobics, zumba dance, yoga, and “boot camp” fitness classes. Students can enjoy pick-up games and the one-mile walking loop. Nutritionists, the SHEs, town police, and pediatricians will be on hand to answer questions. If participants get hungry from all the activities, they can munch on free fruits, vegetables, and other healthy snacks.

To make a difference, it doesn’t take much. Just add water. The motivated students of the Amherst swim and dive team will do the rest.

Tracy Huang ’11 is a CCE student staff writer. She majors in political science and economics. In the fall, she will attend law school in New York City. Her current interests include studying martial arts and blogging.