Although athletes tend to have busy schedules, some still decided to get involved through pledging this fall.
Natalie Jackson, a sophomore track and field athlete, said she’s looking forward to pledging because, despite the time commitment, it energizes her and allows her to accomplish a lot.
“Student athletes are the best managers of their time because we have multiple practices, obligations and sporting events on top of academics,” said Jackson, a kinesiology major from Gonzalez. “The relationships that have already formed through rushing make the sacrifices well worth the extra effort. If you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen.”
Lee De Leon, director of Athletics, said he wants athletes to get involved with the rest of the student body, whether through pledging or other student organizations.
“I think it’s extremely important for our student athletes to be a part of something bigger than themselves and bigger than just their teams,” De Leon said. “If they limit themselves in their college experience to just their sports, they’re really missing out. There are a lot of incredibly talented students outside of athletics that they need to know.”
De Leon said he feels so strongly about this issue because when he attended Notre Dame, he wasn’t a student athlete, but he had friends on the football team, one of whom inspired him to pursue the career of Athletics Director. He said spending time with people who were different from him helped his college experience.
“I hope that our student athletes can grow by interacting with students who are different from them,” Lee said. “I just think there’s so much that we can learn from other people, and I hope our athletes don’t limit themselves to learning just from their teammates.”
On the other hand, some athletes don’t have the desire to pledge, but get involved on campus through other groups and events. Baylee Travers, the first baseman for softball, said club isn’t really for her because of money, scheduling, the idea of “fake friendships,” and the fact that it isn’t a national sorority.
“Softball has given me my best friends, who will stand beside me on my wedding day and memories that I will cherish forever,” said Travers, a senior special education major from Nevada. “I definitely think it takes a place of a sisterhood. It’s something special that I don’t think you could get in a social club because you literally bleed, sweat and have each other’s back.”
The most significant pro for student athletes who pledge, according to De Leon, is that student body will be more inclined to go to games and cheer on the teams if they know them personally and build relationships through social clubs.