Real relationships with real people
February 2014—story by CCE staff writer Jenny Morgan, photo by Eugene Lee '16, audio by Ruodi Duan '14 and Rama Hagos '15
If there’s one thing that seems to be in perpetual short supply on the Amherst campus, it’s time.
For Amherst’s student-athletes—who make up about a third of the campus—the time crunch can mean that there’s little else outside of classes, practice, and games. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the students behind the now one-year-old Athletic Team Engagement Leader (ATEL) program. Perhaps that’s because it’s easy to make time for community engagement when it fits the passions of a team and the needs of the community.
“The ATEL program taps into the talent and resources of each team,” explains Irene Hickey ’13, one of the program’s co-founders. “Team leaders are able to match their team’s passions with the interests of the community.” The program is a collaboration between the Athletics Department and the Center for Community Engagement.
The success of the ATEL program is in its design. Every sports team at Amherst has at least one ATEL, who is then responsible for facilitating community engagement opportunities for their team. For men’s lacrosse player and ATEL Charlie Gill ’16, that means partnering with the town of Amherst’s Senior Center for weekly dinners. “Our focus is to build real relationships with real people in this community that we’re a part of,” he says.
CCE audio documentarians Ruodi Duan '14 and Rama Hagos '15 sat down with Gill and Khushy Aggarwal ’16, a member of the women’s squash team, to learn more about their thoughts on the program. Listen below to hear what they have to say.