By Jacques St. Jean
There are many clubs at Springfield College that teach students leadership skills and tools to take into their future careers. One in particular, the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), works with a handful of the Pride’s athletes from each athletics team. SALT is led by NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative and Associate Professor of Sports Management and Recreation Bob Accorsi.
The club is designed to shape current leaders involved in Springfield Athletics. According to their webpage on SpringfieldCollegePride.com, “the foundation of this group is to have a presence in the surrounding community, with the goal to become the national model for how student-athletes can make an impact outside of their competitive arenas.”
SALT covers a wide arrange of activities and programs around campus. Consisting of over fifty athletes from every sports team, SALT is divided into five different subcommittees: Team IMPACT, Student-Athlete Enhancement, Humanics in Action, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Community Engagement.
As a member of SALT for the past two years, Physical Therapy major and women’s lacrosse athlete, Anj Altebrando has stepped up and shown just what the club is capable of. Altebrando started on the e-board last fall, and was chosen to oversee the Community Engagement committee. This committee is “connecting with other groups on campus, trying to get everyone involved in athletics” according to Altebrando. While it has been tough during the COVID year, Altebrando has found ways to still reach out to and connect with community members and other clubs at Springfield. “Usually it’s with sports games like… a t-shirt giveaway every game,” Altebrando explains, “this year we just did Fresh Check Day which was the mental health fair… it went pretty well.”
The event was held a few weeks ago on April 6 on the Naismith Green, where events and activities were offered to bring awareness to mental health. Altebrando’s committee, along with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee running the event.
With next year looking to be COVID-free, Altebrando is looking to bring back some of the things that were absent in SALT. “I think they’re trying to get the superfan app back,” she claims, “a lot of [people] liked the superfan app where they could go to games, get their points, and then get a prize at the end of the semester.” Sadly, not a single athletics game this year had fans in attendance, but that is a hope and a likely possibility in the next academic year.
Despite the current difficulties, Altebrando is still enjoying her time in SALT due to the relationships she has made with other student-athletes and faculty members in the athletics office. “I like being a part of the athletics [department],” she speaks.
Altebrando adds, “As a student-athlete I know it’s there, but I feel like I’m not close with the AD… being a part of SALT has gotten me a lot closer with a lot of the people in athletics… that’s a great relationship to have at Springfield.”
SALT is a fantastic club to gain more connections with fellow athletes and people at the college. It is also a great club to help make change on campus, and be a part of something bigger than oneself. A junior in the Finance and Marketing major, and volleyball player, Justin Brosnan has served on SALT since his sophomore year. From being the e-board member of Community Engagement like Altebrando, to now overseeing the Humanics in Action subcommittee, Brosnan has played a big role in SALT for the past year. Serving the community is what the Humanics philosophy is all about, and Brosnan is leading SALT’s Humanics committee in a strong direction.
“We’re pretty much known for ‘Fill the Bus’ the big food drive that we do in athletics,” Brosnan says, “especially with COVID it’s been difficult so we’re doing a lot of things like working with children’s hospitals… I was looking to do a school supplies drive but things got a little crazy.”
Along with a school supplies drive for children in the Partner’s Program, Brosnan is looking to serve the surrounding Springfield community. Community service off campus is something Brosnan’s striving for as an e-board member of the Humanics committee. He also hopes that more will come as the pandemic comes to an end next semester.
“A lot of times it’s just asking for money and that’s not that fun…” Brosnan iterates, “you kind of want to be involved a little bit more than just sending a Venmo for $5.”
Brosnan takes a lot of pride (no pun intended) in his role with SALT. As a California native, Brosnan has gained a new perspective at Springfield College, and through SALT he has seen the struggle in the city of Springfield.
“It’s been really rewarding in a sense of just learning more about the athletic community here on campus and how powerful it is,” Brosnan states, “I consider this group very special, so to be considered a leader for our Student-Athlete Leadership Team is a pretty big honor, and is something I kind of don’t take lightly.”
Like most people, Brosnan is eager for SALT meetings to return to in-person meetings and more events to happen. The Team IMPACT committee has been effected as student-athletes have been unable to visit and be in-person with their respective Team IMPACT kids. Nonetheless, SALT has still continued to create leaders out of student-athletes this academic year, as we see in Altebrando and Brosnan. The Student-Athlete Leadership Team will be in great spirits when the first Pride athletics game with fans happens next semester.
Photo Courtesy Office of Marketing & Communications