The Student-Athlete Action Team: A Team Across Sports

Athletics are a substantial part of Poly life, and student-athletes are under a great deal of stress. Coach Kristin Cannon had an idea for how to have more representation for student-athletes: a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. 

“The vision of what would happen on campus is what they do with college student-athlete advisory committees,” said Cannon. She elaborated that the goal is to “give student-athletes a voice in different events around campus.” With the commitments students have to their team and the classroom, they play a crucial role and have a unique voice that could better our community. Junior Sasha Lifton-Lewis, a member of the committee, explained, “it is a group of students that participate in different sports at Poly.” Their voices can be used to “raise any questions, concerns, or goals that they have for their specific teams or the athletic department,” added Cannon.

Cannon said the committee discusses important issues that pertain to Poly’s student-athletes, saying “the separation of the student and athlete at Poly is a challenge we all face.” Lifton-Lewis relayed an example: “We’ve talked about things such as how the structure of the schedule affects athletes to holding a spring sports event.” Cannon said that many student-athletes have shared that they feel “many times teachers are not sympathetic to all that [they] have to deal with, and all of the time-consuming work that is on [their] plate for both [their] teams and classes.” 

Another meaningful discussion that they had was about transgender athletes. Cannon said, “we discussed trangender youth in sports, and what that means for Poly, our league the Ivy-League and the NYSAIS.” This conversation was between a wide variety of athletes of different sports, and they shared their thoughts about this complex issue. Cannon shared, “we tried to open the books and see what the handbook was saying, and compare it to what the students thought.”

Additionally, the committee reflects on Poly: “Are we doing a good job equity-wise, or Title IX-wise?” Community-building decisions, such as working with Director of Student Life Jared Winston, who is a major source of school spirit, are also devised by the committee. 

Rather than having administrators take the lead, the opportunity for leadership is given to the students. Lifton-Lewis elaborated, “we discuss different issues related to being student-athletes at Poly and potential ideas to improve the experience.” Cannon said, “the students are ones who have the ideas, and they have the opportunity to present ideas to us as a staff. The students are the only ones experiencing this every day, this being school, life, and athletics.”