The Student Athletes Leading Social Change organization is hoping to make a difference both on and off campus by getting involved with social issues.
The group is a national organization founded in 2009 and is comprised of current and former student athletes. The goal of the organization, according to women’s tennis co-captain and junior Jamie Campisi, is to give student athletes a platform to implement social change. The activities and mission of the organization change each year depending on the passions of the chapter, but this year the focus is on creating an inclusive community both at Lehigh and within South Bethlehem.
The Lehigh chapter is led by two co-captains, Campisi and fellow junior Lexi Martins who is a forward on Lehigh’s women’s basketball team. They assumed their positions in January, and have weekly meetings with an adviser to plan an agenda and figure out the direction for the chapter.
“We are really flexible on what we do based on what we feel our group is really passionate about,” Campisi said.
Chapter goals may change each year, but last year there was a lot of focus placed on helping South Bethlehem. One of the activities was for chapter members to go to New Bethany Ministries and help organize its food pantry.
Every summer, chapter members attend service trips. Last summer, members traveled to Philadelphia where they held leadership workshops at local schools and cleaned up their fields and locker rooms. The Lehigh chapter has also gone on trips to places like Kenya, Chicago and Washington D.C.
Lehigh’s chapter is both the largest and most active in the national organization. One of the privileges of being the most active is that the chapter can select the summer service trip. While it is still early in the process, the group has considered attending a national conference on social change or another project-based trip.
To fund these trips, Lehigh’s chapter runs events on campus such as “asoxination,” a game where athletes attempt to eliminate other players by “asoxinating” targets with a sock. The game happens around campus, and the goal is to asoxinate all targets without getting hit.
One of the Lehigh chapter’s goals for this year is to promote a more inclusive university community. David Young, a junior on the men’s baseball team, said the chapter will work to bridge the gaps among different students groups, such as Greek life, athletics and other campus organizations.
In particular, one goal is to see improved turnout at sporting events, which Young says, other than football, can be pretty lacking at times. By promoting relationships between these groups, the chapter hopes to see an increase in school spirit and friendship.
Martins said one of her favorite parts of being in the chapter is that it fosters friendship and dialogue among different campus groups.
“Getting to talk for just an hour about things going on outside of Lehigh and things that are very impactful is a very useful way to turn your brain off from school work and just refresh yourself,” she said.
Campisi said she thinks the chapter helps to break the cycle of becoming self-absorbed, which can easily happen while at school.
“What I love about (the organization) is in our weekly meetings seeing a group of 20 people who are passionate about looking beyond themselves and are passionate about seeing how we can help the community,” Campisi said.
This passion helps these students directly address the issues they want to focus on. The Lehigh chapter hopes to continue leading the way in social change for other chapters and expand the brand nationally to more people and campuses.