Recently a letter to the editor was published in the Merciad regarding the difficulties students face developing friendships with student-athletes.
We, as members of the Mercyhurst Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB), feel that this statement is misleading and inaccurate.
It does not portray what we, as a board, try to accomplish everyday. Student-athletes are students, first and foremost.
We make up over 25 percent of the Mercyhurst student population and our majors and other club and organizational involvement provide opportunities for us to form meaningful relationships and bonds with all students on campus.
While being on an athletic team presents natural friendships between teammates, there are certain things that the Mercyhurst University community does to encourage the entire student population and student-athletes to interact together and form meaningful relationships.
Mercyhurst gives incoming freshmen the chance to get involved with other freshmen at the annual Freshman Welcome Week.
This week allows students to interact with one another especially with the Service Learning Project, where freshmen are randomly grouped with other freshmen, so they can interact and meet new people.
SAAB holds annual events, like the Laker Showdown, that allow all students to be involved, not just athletes, to raise proceeds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Student-athletes also try our very best to create student sections for athletic home games to encourage attendance at sporting events to support Mercyhurst University as a whole.
The Mercyhurst Student Government and our board frequently work together to ensure athletes and students are strengthening the connection on campus.
In conclusion SAAB believes students are already presented with multiple opportunities to build relationships and form inclusive community groups.
At the end of the day, we are all students. The way in which we choose to spend our extracurricular time, our majors, graduation classes and club involvement present daily interactions that can be taken advantage of to create community and camaraderie.
Together as one student body we can make the Mercyhurst experience a great one, but we all have to be committed to it.