Athletic Dept BBQ

Athletic Department Hosts Barbecue

The Monmouth University Athletic Department and MSAAC (Monmouth Student Athlete Advisory Committee) hosted a Welcome Back Event barbecue for over 500 student athletes this past Sunday at Kessler Stadium. 

Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Support, Emily Howard, explained that this was an opportunity for all student athletes to bond and have something fun to kick off the semester. “MSAAC has brought this up as something they were really excited to do and a tradition to bring back. We had done an event like this in the past, and we’re excited to bring it back,” said Howard.

The event was filled with music, food, games, and endless joy. Coaches and athletes were able to relieve stress of the 24 hour, seven day commitment to athletics and bond with others from different teams. Each athlete had the opportunity to express themselves in a nonjudgmental environment. 

MSAAC President and Senior Women’s Soccer Player, Jessica Johnson, explained that the purpose behind the concept of SAAC is to bring all athletic teams together to discuss how we can continue to build our community. “We are a community as athletes, so it’s important for us to remain connected. The BBQ was meant to introduce everyone to the new year but also hopefully get people to talk to others, in a more comfortable setting, from other teams,” said Johnson.

Junior Student Athlete and Criminal Justice Major, Erik Massey, even believed that this event helped athletes come together as one. “The impact that the event left on the students is that we are a family. We aren’t separated by teams, but we are all one knowing we all have each other’s backs. This gives us the confidence to compete better and always support one another,” said Massey. 

They should definitely bring the event back. We gain new family member each year with sports and they need to know that they have a whole group supporting them,” he added.

However, Senior defensive lineman, Eli Jerman felt the event had too little to know impact on the students. “I think the student athletes would have appreciated their off time more. I guess it gave them more of an opportunity to, but I think it was bad timing,” said Jerman. He also believes that they should not bring it back.

Sophomore student athlete and homeland security major, Nick Shoemaker, agreed that it made an impact that made each athletic team feel comfortable in environment, but felt that athletes were not bonding at all.

“Most athletes stayed with their own teams and talk to the friends on their team. I just got free food out of it and it really cut into my study time,” he said.

In disagreement from Jerman and Shoemaker, Johnson believed the BBQ was also a great way to introduce the freshmen to the culture of athletics on campus.”

The hardest thing about freshman year is learning how to fit in to a new culture. It can be overwhelming so hopefully this event made it easier for people to open up,” she continued.

The Athletics Department will also begin Flight Academy, a Peer Mentorship program for freshman student athletes who will be mentored by upperclassmen athletes, an NCAA Diversion and Inclusion week, and community service this fall.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University