Keuka College attends Empire 8 Student-Athlete Summit

Jimmy Habecker, Keuka College
Keuka College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members Meaghan McGwin, Madison White, Autumn Strong, and Brandon MacDonell attended the Empire 8 Student-Athlete Summit held March 25-26 in Fairport. This was the first time Keuka College attended the Empire 8 Student-Athlete Summit since officially joining the conference in 2020.

FAIRPORT — Keuka College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members attended the Empire 8 Student-Athlete Summit held Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26, 2022. The Summit created an opportunity for student leaders from schools across the Empire 8 Conference to gather together to engage in conversations about various topics impacting student-athletes and participate in team-building and leadership development activities.

SAAC members included men's lacrosse sophomore Brandon MacDonell of Clifton Springs, women's basketball junior Meaghan McGwin  of Hilton, cheerleading sophomore Autumn Strong of Geneseo, and women's golf sophomore Madison White of West Henrietta, along with SAAC Advisor Michelle Broadhurst attended the event. 

Students had the opportunity to engage with keynote speaker Jen Fry on diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of college athletics, and learn how to begin challenging conversations to make impactful changes on their campuses and in their lives. They participated in activities designed to build community between student-athletes from rival institutions. Juliana Smith, Deputy Athletics Directory and Senior Woman Administrator at Colgate University, took the participants through a DISC Assessment workshop where they learned about their individual personalities, other personality styles, and how to improve communication with the various styles. Finally, the students had a discussion about upcoming Division III Week plans and other SAAC initiatives at each institution.

Brandon MacDonell said “my favorite part of the E8 Summit was sitting with athletes from different schools. We were able to think collaboratively and talk about what schools could implement.”

Similarly, Madison White echoed that her “favorite part of this opportunity was being able to meet with other schools from around the Empire 8 and hearing what they are doing at their schools to get new ideas and learn how they include everyone on their campus and not just their student-athlete population.”

The main topic of the 2022 Empire 8 Summit was diversity, equity, and inclusion. Jen Fry was able to not only captivate her audience but empower them. Autumn Strong noted that “Jen Fry stood out to me! She was very motivational and she helped us open up to the participants from other colleges and talk about different perspectives.”

Junior Meaghan McGwin very insightfully said “this experience has opened up my eye and makes me want to incorporate more of what we talked about for those twenty-four hours here at Keuka College. I challenge us to make change with more opportunities for discussions on race, sexuality, family-like, socio-economic status, nationality, ability, gender, etc.” She continued “this experience also allowed me to want to help make a change and not just be one who sits back and observes”

Assistant Director of Athletics, SWA and SAAC advisor Michelle Broadhurst added, “It was so great to see students interacting in person again. I felt the energy, especially from our Keuka students. Our SAAC has done some great things so far this semester and I think they will continue to use their voices to advocate for positive change on our campus and in our community.”

This was the first time Keuka College attended the Empire 8 Student-Athlete Summit since officially joining the conference in 2020, as it was the first time the summit was held in this format since 2019. Broadhurst finished by saying “I want to thank the Empire 8 for giving us this opportunity and I am already looking forward to bringing more students in future years!”

Next up the Keuka SAAC students will celebrate Division III Week with events all week long. Activities will happen over social media, on campus, and at next week’s home athletics contests. Check out @Keuka_SAAC on Instagram for all the details!